Time to get that long-delayed checkup?

You may have put off going to the doctor for your regular checkup during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minor ailments may not have seemed worth the time—or the risk. Now that things seem to be getting back to normal with the help of vaccines, you can safely schedule an appointment again. Here’s what to do, counsels U.S. News & World Report:

  • Don’t be embarrassed. You may worry that the staff will criticize you for putting off your checkup. Just remember that the pandemic was stressful for everyone. You have the right to take care of yourself as best you can while maintaining your physical and mental health.
  • Document your stats. In the days or weeks before your appointment, start keeping track of key metrics like your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar (if you have diabetes) and other factors affecting your overall health, like fatigue, shortness of breath, or irritability.
  • Prepare questions. Come in with a list of questions to ask your doctor. Write down the answers. You don’t want to forget anything crucial regarding your health.
  • Set goals. Work with your doctor on some realistic goals for better health—mild exercise, medications, meditation, and other strategies. Remember that even small steps can have a big impact over time.
  • Don’t ignore new symptoms. If you experience any sudden problems, like chest pain, don’t wait for your appointment. Call your doctor immediately and, if necessary, go to the ER.
  • Keep doctors informed. After your appointment, let your doctor know if you’re having side effects or negative reactions to any medications or activities, or if a prescription is too expensive for you. Remember that your mutual goal is to keep you healthy for the long run.

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