Amid the global pandemic, it is more important than ever to manage your health and get medical care as soon as you need it. Here are a few suggestions to stay healthy.
Make sure you have a primary care physician
It’s essential to have a primary care physician (PCP), even if you don’t think you need one. Your PCP is usually the first person you will consult when a health problem arises and is someone you can build a relationship with over time. When considering a PCP, here are a few things to think about: do you have a gender preference; does the PCP have a “care philosophy” that speaks to you; does the PCP specialize in certain age groups or expertise; where is he/she located and does the practice accept your insurance? Is this someone you’d feel comfortable sending your whole family to?
With the uncertainty of the coronavirus, it may also be beneficial for you that the physician offers virtual visits, email messaging and phone appointments, in addition to office visits.
Pay attention to your body
To stay well, it is important to make a habit of scanning your body daily to monitor how you feel—even when you feel good. Do a regular self-check of your sleep, diet, hydration, weight and energy level, as well as any aches and pains. Did you sleep well last week? Have you been drinking enough water and eating a healthy diet? Do you feel unusually fatigued? Is a part of your body experiencing pain right now? If you pay attention to your body on a regular basis, you will recognize symptoms more quickly when something is wrong.
“Another important part of physical health is your mental health,” said Serign Marong, MD, a family medicine physician at Banner - University Medical Center Tucson. “There is a lot of uncertainty out there and so many things we can’t control. Whether you are suffering from heart or lung disease, chronic pain, or other chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, your mental health is an important component. So, start your day out with an attitude of gratitude.”
Do not try to self-diagnose
When you are experiencing symptoms or pain, do not panic and turn to the Internet for guidance. With so many online medical resources available, it can be tempting to self-diagnose. However, the internet is not the best source of medical advice and, most often, it will just make you more anxious. Instead, call your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms and schedule an appointment, if needed. If your medical needs are more immediate, visit an urgent care or emergency room near you.
Just because our country has been on hold, does not mean the normal process of disease has ceased. “Health issues such as infections, concerning skin findings, neurological and cardiovascular symptoms all need to be evaluated,” said Dr. Marong. “Many things can be resolved if handled in the appropriate time.”
The same goes for preventative health, which is a large focus of any PCP. “A small delay in routine screening may be fine, but don’t use this time as an excuse to put something off for a whole year,” said Dr. Marong.
Stay abreast of the latest health information
One of the best ways to care for your health is to stay informed. The more informed you are—including about your own body—the healthier you are likely to be. Visit the Banner Health website for information on a variety of health topics and to find a primary care physician near you.