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Spring Cleaning For Your Health

It's the time of year for spring cleaning, but don't stop with your home. Use the spring season to take inventory of your health.

It’s the time of year when we’re all thinking about tackling those cobwebs in the corners and springing for a fresh coat of paint. Why wouldn’t you do the same thing for your body? Use the spring season to take inventory of both your medicine cabinet and your health.

Medications

Check the expiration dates on your over-the-counter drugs. If you have old prescriptions lying around that you don’t need, dispose of them responsibly. This is also a good time to make a list of all medications that you take. Having a complete list will make things easier the next time that you visit a doctor. And always make sure that these medications are out of the reach of children.

Physicals

Speaking of little ones, do they need a physical for a sports team or summer camp? This is the perfect time to get it done.

But it doesn’t stop there. Adults need regular screenings and periodic check-ups, too. Okay, you’re healthy. That’s great. But we all need a little tune up every once in a while. Doctors recommend that you have a physical exam every five years while you’re in your 20’s and 30’s. Once you hit 40, it should be a little more often: about every two years. Once you turn 50 years “young,” get a physical and ask you doctor how often you should have periodic checkups or screenings. Your need will depend on any medical issues you have and your family health history.

Vaccinations

Keep a record of your vaccinations. Vaccine recommendations change with age, if you have a chronic illness or if you are in a high risk group. Discuss your needs with your doctor and be prepared for a blood test during a physical exam. Blood tests often involve fasting (nothing to eat or drink except water) for 8 hours before blood is drawn. Patients should always take their regular medication on schedule even if they are fasting.

Health Screenings

Pap test – Every 1 to 3 years starting at age 21

Colonoscopy – Every 10 years starting at age 50 unless problems are identified; then, more often. Ask your doctor for earlier screenings if you have a close relative with colon cancer.

Osteoporosis – Every 2 years starting at age 65 or postmenopausal women of any age

Mammogram – Ask your doctor

Prostate cancer screening – Ask your doctor

Vision Screenings

Infants & Toddlers – By age 6 months

2 to 5 years – At age 3 and prior to entering elementary school

6 to 19 years – Annually

20 to 64 years – Every 2 years

65 & older - Annually

These are general guidelines for a healthy individual. Consult your doctor to determine a screening schedule that is best for you.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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