If you only watch and listen to the widespread general media outlets, you may think that COVID-19 is the only health concern right now. Because of the constant focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, attention on preventative health has been neglected.
Many children and families have postponed check ups due to fear of catching COVID-19 if they go to their physicians office. Patients have missed or delayed essential health care including health screenings and vaccinations.
Research has shown that vaccination rates have significantly decreased since mid March. We must do everything we can to keep children from developing severe, preventable diseases.
Preventative healthcare is broken down into primary, secondary and tertiary measures. As physicians, we fail our patients when we neglect any of these measures.
Primary measures include education of our patients on good health habits. I encourage you to stay active and exercise at least three times a week. Get adequate sleep. Eat a healthy diet. Take time to relax and de-stress and stay up to date on your vaccinations.
Secondary measures includes health maintenance. This includes thorough physical exams, blood tests, early screening procedures and preventative medications. There are many disease processes that require our attention in order to ensure early detection and more successful treatment.
Tertiary measures includes support groups as well as rehabilitation programs. Their goal is to improve our overall health and wellness.
My hope is that we will exit this COVID-19 pandemic with better preventative health habits. This includes better handwashing, vaccinations, and better self-care, appropriate health screening and judicious medication usage.