June 10, 2021
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have opted to avoid the doctor’s office altogether. You wouldn't be alone; 32 percent of adults in the United States avoided routine care during the public health emergency. But staying on top of your schedule of regular health visits is important for maintaining your overall health and identifying any issues that could turn into more serious conditions if they’re left untreated.
Now that vaccines are widely available and COVID-19 poses minimal risks to those who are vaccinated, it’s critical to get the following health visits back on your calendar.
Hopefully you already have a trusted PCP! Your PCP is your main health care provider, and during a routine visit you can expect them to do things like take your height, weight, and blood pressure, as well as check for any changes in your health that warrant seeing a specialist. Your PCP will ensure you’re up-to-date on vaccines and will give you appropriate advice around diet or any other changes to consider. You should see your PCP annually, so if you haven’t been there since the pandemic began, now’s the time. If you don't already have a PCP, you can use Independence's Find a Provider tool to locate an in-network practitioner near you.
As a general rule, you should get your eyes checked every year. And since you’ve probably had many months of extra screen time, a visit to the optometrist is likely in order. Optometrists check your vision for any underlying issues, and if you wear corrective lenses, they will update your prescription when needed. If you’re experiencing any issues with your eyes, it’s important to get this one scheduled before your sight degrades any further.
Few people look forward to a trip to the dentist, but if you haven’t seen one since COVID-19 began, you’re probably a few visits past due: most dentists recommend you make an appointment for cleaning and examination every six months. A trip to the dentist will naturally include an examination to look for cavities and decay, but a thorough exam can also identify other potential health problems.
The largest organ in your body is your skin and it needs to get checked on an annual basis. A good dermatology exam includes a screening for signs of skin cancer and identifies any areas that require a biopsy or further exam. If you are dealing with acne or any other skin problems, an annual dermatologist visit can help manage those health concerns.
Women should see a gynecologist annually. Gynecologist visits can involve exams to screen for diseases, as well as cancer screenings and general reproductive health. Regularly scheduled visits can help ensure that any reproductive health concerns are discovered and managed with before they can become a larger issue.
To ensure you don’t miss your appointments in the future, simplify your life by scheduling your next visit before you leave the office. The more you stay on top of these types of visits, the earlier your health care providers can address anything that needs attention, and help you remain as healthy as possible.