April 2nd, 2009 Jamie
Most students don’t have a “Health Routine”–that round of preventative care you need to keep ahead of to make sure you stay healthy. (You know, those appointments your mom used to set up for you and force you to attend.)
And I know, I know: you don’t want to go to the doctor. I hear you. But as the daughter and sister-in-law to two former cancer patients I feel compelled to remind you–the more regularly you visit the doctor, the easier it is to catch small problems before they get too big! My dad’s doctor actually told him that if he had put off his check-up, they might not have been able to catch his cancer in time.
So get out there and get healthy! Here’s what you need to know.
Who to Visit
If you’re a relatively healthy person, there are only a few appointments you need to make each year:
- Dental cleaning & check-up (these should be every 6 months!),
- Regular physical with your general doctor,
- Specialists who you routinely visit (optometrist, dermatologist, allergist, etc.),
- And, for girls, a gyn check-up.
When to Visit
Most people skip going to the doctor simply because they forget to do it. In all the chaos of daily life, you probably won’t think twice about calling the doctor if you aren’t sick!
So my best suggestion for you is to make it routine. Choose a day, week, or month that you promise to head in for a check-up every year. I usually set them up in my birthday month, because I remind myself that I’m getting another year older, and staying healthy is sort of my gift to myself. (That, and making my sweetie take me to the movies.)
It doesn’t really matter which time of year you choose, but if you live away from home and want to keep your hometown docs, schedule your check-ups for one of your school breaks. And above all, add the appointments to your calendar!
Even if mom made the appointment for you, you’re technically an adult now. That means that your parents can’t get access to your medical records, and its up to you to keep on top of things.
If you’re switching to a new doctor or dentist, you’ll need to call your previous doctor and ask to have your records sent over to the new one (for dentists make sure they send over your most recent x-rays, too!).
Even if you aren’t switching doctors, you should keep a medical history file that includes:
- Blood type
- Allergies (to food, medicine, etc.)
- Vaccinations (and when they need to be renewed)
- Chronic diseases or health problems
- Medications (doses, how long you’ve taken them)
- Date of last physical
- Family history of health problems
- Emergency contacts including
- A nearby friend/relative
- Local hospital
- Doctors & dentist
- School health center
- Current health insurance info
It won’t take much time to put this info together, and you’ll be so happy you have it when you HAVE to go to the doctor!
photo by a_kartha
Entry Filed under: health