In order to safeguard your health, it’s important not to put off scheduling your regular medical appointments this fall, especially as cold and flu season kick off in earnest. To help you stay as healthy as possible this fall, here are five medical appointments that you shouldn’t put on the backburner.
Treatment for chronic conditions should never be put off, and you should always do your best to keep your regular appointments. Because of the pandemic, many people struggling with chronic conditions have begun putting off treatment to try and limit exposure, as they are at a greater risk for complications. This pattern is similar to what was seen during the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak that caused hospitalizations for those with diabetes to decrease, only to drastically increase once the outbreak abated.
If your safety is a concern, you should talk to your doctor about what accommodations they can provide you with. It’s worth noting that visiting your doctor for chronic health treatments is typically much less risky than even grocery shopping, as many offices accept patients on an appointment-only schedule, meaning you won’t need to worry about being exposed to a lot of other patients. Similarly, depending on the care you need, you may be able to use telehealth services to get additional advice.
The pandemic has caused a surge in anxiety and depression, and without the proper care, it can be hard, if not impossible, to overcome these issues on your own. Because of this, it’s important that you schedule health care services as needed and take care not to miss any if possible. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and often they can go hand-in-hand. If you are struggling with or without a diagnosed mental health problem, be sure to schedule an appointment for treatment or counseling sooner, rather than later.
Cancer comes in many forms and catching any of these early is key to being able to treat any variations most effectively. If you are due for any screenings, don’t put them off. Likewise, if you have noticed anything concerning, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to either catch issues early or give you peace of mind.
Skin cancer screenings are one that you should definitely consider scheduling if you have spent more time outside during these past two years. Due to the pandemic, more people spent time outdoors to help alleviate some quarantine boredom. Unprotected sun exposure during this time could have increased the risk for some people, making screenings all the more important this fall. If you have any skin lesions, make sure to show them to your doctor or dermatologist at your next visit. For benign, precancerous, and superficial skin cancer lesions, cry devices can be used to remove them. Studies estimate that physicians have removed over 500 million skin lesions using cryo methods, and they are definitely something to consider if you have any lesions that your doctor recommends removing.
Along with cancer and chronic health care services, many people have been putting off visits to their dentists and orthodontists. However, oral health can have significant impacts on your whole body, and it isn’t something that you want to put off for too long. Orthodontic treatment, in particular, is something to get a jump start on this fall, especially if your dentist has previously recommended it. Although many people think braces are only for kids and teens, one in five orthodontic patients are actually over the age of 18. Taking advantage of braces now can help reduce your risk of cavities in the future, and make caring for your teeth much easier.
If you’re expecting, prenatal care isn’t something you will want to put off. However, you do have options that can help make keeping your appointments easier. For some appointments that don’t involve ultrasounds or exams, you may be able to take advantage of telehealth services with your doctor. For in-office appointments, you also won’t have to worry about safety, as many appointments for expectant mothers are scheduled to ensure that they won’t risk coming in contact with other patients who may be sick.
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that taking care of your health is immensely important. While this has always been true, due to the pandemic, it has risen in prominence. If you have been putting off any of these medical appointments, now is the time to start catching up. Speak to your doctor as soon as possible so that you can ensure that your health is in the best shape possible to keep you healthy this year and into the next.
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