Finding your footing as healthcare options reopen
With shelter-in-place orders starting to lift in some areas, you might be refocusing on your health and wondering about the best approach. Is it safe to reschedule your canceled wellness exam? Is it the right time for a cosmetic procedure? We’re here to help you review your options with a medical checkup checklist.
Beyond visits like annual screenings, physicals, and immunizations, you may want to explore your mental health as well. Your mind and body are connected, and both deserve your attention. It’s important to acknowledge that the last few months have held tremendous challenges, so it’s important to be extra caring and kind to yourself too.
Self-care is a necessary piece of being well and finding resilience. You may want to consider your mental health as a first step on your path to scheduling health care.
Care for your mental health in this time of stress
You’re not alone if you’ve been experiencing depression, anxiety, insomnia, or other symptoms from the isolation of physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic/public health emergency. And current sociopolitical events may be putting further pressure on your mental state.
The growing awareness around civil equality and the Black Lives Matter movement, plus concerns about voting safely in the upcoming election, may lead to complicated emotions. Give yourself a compassionate space to feel what’s coming up for you.
This may be a good time to reach out to a mental health professional if you’re experiencing concerning mental or emotional symptoms and need support. You might also want to consider evaluating your physical activity levels and whether they’re a contributing factor to your mental and emotional states.
Check in with your primary care provider (PCP)
Your annual health checkup evaluates your overall health status and gives a good background of your health history to specialists you may see. Any details you provide help make it a clearer picture. Your PCP is your point person on your wellness journey, so communicate with him or her thoroughly on:
- Changes in your body or symptoms since your last visit
- Chronic symptoms
- Your emotional well-being and any new issues
- Upcoming screenings based on your life stage
Something recent that seems small to you may still be significant. So be open and honest, and let your PCP consider with you whether it needs looking into.
Stay ahead of potential issues with preventive care
Being dedicated to preventive care may help keep you in your best health. That’s always an advantage, but potentially even more so with the advent of COVID-19. You may want to utilize a combination of screenings, counseling around possible risks, and risk-reducing medications (if your doctor recommends them as appropriate for you).
Recommended screenings can vary according to your age. Where you are in life can show you what to look out for. These are some basics that may already be familiar to you:
- Any age or gender: Get an annual physical to track blood pressure, height, weight, BMI, hearing, and vision.
- Middle-aged men and women: Screen for breast or prostate cancer, blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol, and colon cancer.
- Senior men and women: Test for colorectal cancer and bone density to screen for osteoporosis.
- For a full list of recommended screenings, read our preventive health guidelines.
It’s also good idea to check and make sure you and your family are up to date on immunizations.
Scheduling your elective surgeries and procedures
If you’ve been waiting to book an elective procedure, you can bring it up with your care provider to see whether it’s a good idea to move forward or wait. Considering the current spike in COVID-19 cases, guidelines may be fluctuating in your area.
The CDC and California Department of Health are good sources of information on the latest COVID-19 case rates and testing availability. It’s a good idea to prioritize your well-being and safety as you weigh your options. While waiting might feel frustrating, it may help you to fully assess the best course of action during this evolving public health emergency.
Explore telemedicine services to help keep you and others safe
With businesses opening back up in some parts of the country, you might be tempted to get to your doctor’s office right away. If that’s the case, consider working with your provider’s office to decide which type of appointment is best for you. Along with in-person visits, some checkups can also be done in the comfort of your home, such as consults for behavioral and mental health.
Teladoc®, Heal™, and NurseHelp 24/7℠ are three services that are available to most Blue Shield of California members. You can use them to get back on track and back in touch with a healthcare provider.
If you’re not sure what to use virtual care for, check with the person scheduling your appointment. They can help you determine whether an in-person visit is necessary.
Protect everyone’s health during in-person visits
If you do need to be seen in person, follow the CDC’s guidelines for keeping anyone you come in contact with as safe as possible. In addition, providers across the state are taking steps to limit your and their (and everyone’s) exposure. Now that many of them are offering services again, consider supporting their efforts by following their recommended guidelines. This way, we can keep the healthcare system from getting overwhelmed.
And remember, the NurseHelp 24/7℠ line is available to all Blue Shield members at no additional cost, to help you determine what level of care fits your concerns.
As the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold, there may be adjustments. Guidelines may shift periodically to respond to the virus’s spread. Now is a good time to prioritize your health and wellness, with special attention to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Focusing on self-care may build resilience to help carry you through this ongoing transition.
Consider taking advantage of our virtual services like Teladoc®, Heal™, and NurseHelp 24/7℠. And work closely with your doctor on the best plan for you, so you can keep as healthy as possible during this trying time.