If it's been a while since you've seen your doctor, it may be time to schedule a visit to catch up on preventive health screenings or discuss any health concerns and chronic medical conditions.
During the 15 months since people began quarantining, many have avoided leaving their homes except when necessary, including not going to the doctor. But now COVID-19 cases in the United States are dropping and many Americans have received their vaccines.
Johns Hopkins Medicine offers some tips for getting back to the doctor.
Start by reflecting on your major health questions and concerns before the appointment.
"Write them down so you can review them during your visit," said Dr. Paul O'Rourke, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the associate program director of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Internal Medicine Residency Program, in Baltimore.
"After a long time away, it's helpful to come prepared and ensure you address the issues important to you," O'Rourke explained.
Bring a list of your current medications and supplements, as well as documentation of any vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine if you received it elsewhere.
"This enables your physician to update your records and ensure you are current with recommendations," O'Rourke said in a Hopkins news release.
For those still concerned about returning to their doctor, O'Rourke encourages them to contact their physician's office.
"Your health care providers want you to be safe," he said. "Reach out to them and ask for information about their COVID-19 safety procedures if you need reassurance about coming back."
Prepare for certain aspects of your appointment to be different. Waiting rooms have been rearranged to maintain physical distancing. Nurses and doctors wear facial coverings now. Some clinics will ask to conduct a COVID-19 screening prior to your appointment.
"Hesitancy is understandable," O'Rourke added. "This has been a very stressful time for everyone. But, it is important for patients to return to medical and preventive care services - and to know that all medical clinics have precautions in place to minimize the risk of acquiring COVID-19."
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more information on preventive health care.
SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medicine, news release, June 3, 2021