Community Content: Love your health? Self-check this month
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
February is National Self-Check Month.
It is time to take care of you.
Looking back at 2020, I could dwell on all of the things we did not get to do. We missed holidays with families, canceled our extracurricular activities and opted for staycations over destination getaways.
Once safe to do so, I know we all look forward to resuming normal activities and getting back to enjoying each other’s company in person. (Read: not over Zoom.)
But for that to become a reality, we all need to take a step back and focus on our personal health.
Unfortunately, as we canceled visits and trips last year, many of us also canceled medical and dental appointments, whether due to COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions or fear of exposure.
And although rescheduling a check-up every once in a while is a part of managing our busy lives, skipping appointments altogether and for extended periods of time can mean that detection of diseases and other medical conditions is delayed, or that an ailment goes undiagnosed altogether.
So as we all patiently wait to return to our normal lives (and our normal medical check-ups), I encourage you to show your health some love this month by self-checking.
If we practice self-checks, we are taking advantage of the power of prevention and early detection. Self-checks often help lead to the discovery of certain cancers, heart and blood-pressure issues, diabetes and obesity, among other health concerns. Early detection can be key in successfully treating and overcoming many of these and other potentially life-threatening conditions.
Self-checks can be as simple as screening yourself for lumps or abnormalities or keeping an eye on that one mole that doesn’t look quite right.
Set up a telemedicine appointment to ask your doctor to recommend self-checks that suite your age and medical history, or check out the tips recommended on selfchec.org, the organization behind National Self-Check Month.
Beyond this physical screening, self-check by asking yourself if you’re living healthfully. Are you eating right, getting enough exercise and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking, excessive drinking or skipping out on some much-needed sleep?
Take some time this month to evaluate your lifestyle choices and determine if they might be contributing to a health risk for you.
And while doing this, keep in mind those things that are a potential risk to your health at present.
For all of us, this means self-checking for COVID-19 signs and symptoms. Once- or twice-daily temperature checks can detect an early warning of an infection. Remember, normal temperature for an adult is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, plus or minus 1.5 degrees. Touchless forehead thermometers are a great option for this task and have become readily available again.
Also keep an eye out for cough, chills, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have online self-check tools to help you screen yourself before calling a doctor.
Finally, with most doctors resuming regular appointments, be sure to get back on track with annual check-ups and other visits, whether in person or via telemedicine. Make a list of concerns or changes to your health and discuss them with your doctor during your visit.
As always, the best way to monitor your health is through regular physician visits.
By doing your part to show your health some love, you’re showing us some love at the Whitehall Division of Fire, too, by limiting emergency calls for diseases and ailments that could have otherwise been prevented. Thanks for doing your part to make Whitehall a safer, healthier community.
Preston Moore is chief of the Whitehall Division of Fire.