Visiting the doctor is a pain, but there's no way around it. And flu season is here again already! "Influenza activity is increasing across the country and CDC has received reports of severe influenza illness," according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health advisory released on Monday. Maybe you are sick or maybe it's just a checkup, but it's never fun. However, it's important to get the most out of your visits so that they can be as infrequent as possible. Here are our dos and don'ts of visiting the doc:
Be completely open with your doctor and be an active participant in the appointment. Doctors are an important part of keeping you healthy and the more they know about you and what you need, the more they'll be able to help, says WebMD.
Be active in preparing for your appointment. If something is troubling you, keep a symptom diary. It's amazing how easy it is to forget something when you're in the uncomfortable chair of the examination room, says WedMD. Write down all your medications and any relevant medical history you've had, says CFAH.
Ask questions and inform yourself fully. If you feel rushed during your appointment, it's because your doctor has many people to see. Don't let this deter you from listing anything you need to talk about or asking any questions. If something is unclear, ask questions until you understand. You're ultimately the person responsible for knowing what to do to care for yourself, says Health Link BC. Clarify the next step (follow-up, tests, etc.) before you leave and take notes during the appointment.
Don't lie about drugs, drinking, smoking or sex. Doctors are not there to judge, they're there to keep you healthy, says SSM Health, and to do so, they need all the info. Visits are always completely confidential.
Don't hold back your expectations. If you want a prescription, say so. If you want a referral, say so. Doctors are smart, but they're not mind-readers!
Don't be impatient in the waiting room. Everyone in the room wishes they were somewhere else and that they can be out of there sooner. Your turn will come, and waiting is unfortunately just a reality of medical care. If it's an emergency, go to the hospital.