Diet and exercise take some work, but routine health screenings are a no-brainer. Being screened for things like high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and depression is easy.
You might think – do I really need all those tests and screenings? Why, yes you do! Screening for things like cancer and other chronic diseases can save your life. A lot of times, these diseases are called "silent killers." That's not just to scare you – it's the truth! Many diseases have no side effects, so even though you feel fine, something really dangerous could be developing inside of you. Disturbing, huh?
Besides eating healthy, exercising, and taking good care of your health, getting screened is the most important thing you can do. Some health plans covered preventive health services before, but under the health care reform law, all health insurers now are required to cover recommended screenings and vaccines, so it won't cost you extra! Read all about preventive health services covered under health care reform.
A quick prick of a needle can give you a lifetime of protection against many diseases. Pretty impressive, right? Vaccines, also called immunizations, vaccinations, shots, or boosters, can help prevent contagious diseases from spreading like wildfire through our families and communities. And we're not talking tummy aches and ear infections – these vaccines are warding off major diseases like pertussis, measles, polio, and hepatitis. Vaccines are considered one of the most important public health inventions in history next to clean water.
OK, OK – so maybe you don't like needles. Few people do. But think about it this way – that momentary discomfort is way better than catching the potentially deadly illness the vaccine is protecting you from. Vaccines are safe, effective, and usually have minor – if any – side effects. They're probably also covered by your health insurance.
Most vaccines should be given before age 2. Others are recommended during early childhood. And there's a bunch of boosters that adults should get. Talk to your doctor about your needs and work with them to set up a vaccine schedule so you and your family stay healthy and protected.
Screening and Immunization Schedules
Stop the Flu Before It Stops You
Your health plan probably covers flu shots during flu season – maybe even at no cost to you. Here’s a handy list of places in Hawaii where you can get a flu shot.
Thinking about getting pregnant? Congratulations! It's an exciting time and there's a lot to think about. The most important thing is your and your baby's health. That's why you should see your doctor regularly before, during, and after pregnancy.
Visit your doctor before you conceive to make sure you're healthy enough for pregnancy and identify any potential issues. Here are just a few things you should talk about with your doctor: your family history, medical conditions, medicine you take, and vaccines you may need.
Prenatal care (care while you're pregnant) is just as important. These visits let your doctor monitor your progress and test for problems. You should have prenatal checkups at least once a month during your pregnancy or as often as your doctor recommends.
You should go for a postpartum checkup (care after giving birth) within six weeks of giving birth to make sure that you're healing and recovering well, both physically and emotionally. In addition to the exam, it's a great time to ask your doctor questions and discuss any concerns.
Here's to you, baby!