Lock Down These Tips to Be Proactive in Taking Care of Your Health During COVID19
Way back in April, which feels like years ago, I shared my tips on making the best of your “Quarantime.” Last month, Dan Doty shared his ideas to help support mental health during COVID19 and beyond. It’s now June, and the world is still facing the COVID19 pandemic.
While things may be slightly improving on the health front, about 80% of people are hesitant to visit medical facilities, for a number of reasons. So the question becomes how do we continue to take care of health, while staying away from doctor’s offices?
Fear not; there are a number of ways to do just that!
Continue to perform your regular self-exams.
If there is one message I want readers to get out of ABSOT it is the importance of self-exams. If you haven’t learned this by now, I have failed you. Allow me to remind you how to perform a testicular self-exam:
Place your index and middle fingers under the testicle with your thumb on top. Firmly, but gently, roll the testicle between your fingers. Any weird lumps or bumps should be checked out by a doctor ASAP. When you get out of the shower, be sure to look for signs of changes in shape, color, or swelling.
Beyond checking your testicles, be sure to do other forms of self-exams. Fellow Uniballer Kyle Smith of CHECK15 has some informative (and highly entertaining) videos about breast exams and skin checks, featuring the wizards of Fantastic Beasts and the archaeologists of Jurassic Park, respectively.
Bottom line: Though the world is anything but normal right now, get to know your body’s “normal.” Document any changes you encounter, especially if you’re not sure when you will physically get to a doctor next. You need to be your own first line of defense in these uncharted territories.
Use “telehealth” to replace an in-person visit.
Video calls have become the norm for day-to-day life in these unprecedented times. At this point, I’ve been on approximately two-million video calls, ranging from kindergarteners to my nearly eighty-year-old grandmother.
I’ve also been on video calls with medical professionals. Last weekend, I managed to get into a patch of poison ivy while weed whacking. (This may or may not be the same patch I get into every year, right before remembering that I forgot to put on long pants and sleeves to trim the weeds.)
The rash seemed to be especially brutal this year, since 2020 is just determined to be full X-Games mode. I hopped on a video call with a nurse practitioner. Literally minutes later, I had a prescription for steroids. Watch out, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I’m coming for you. (Author’s Note: After my editor reviewed this, she informed me that these are different steroids. A man can dream, Sam!)
Beyond a case of poison ivy that seems to haunt your summers, telehealth is a great way to see medical providers, receive advice, get prescriptions, and more, from the comfort of your own home. Check out what telehealth services your primary care doctor has or what your insurance carrier offers.
Telehealth can also be used for mental health therapy, and it’s what I’ve been using since March with my therapist. Whether it’s for your physical or mental health, telehealth is something worth looking into for now (and possibly beyond this pandemic).
Do your lab work at home.
Last summer, probably around the same time I was dealing with the same patch of poison ivy, I wrote about my experience with LetsGetChecked.
Essentially, I pricked my finger, dripped blood into a vial, sent it off, and received my results within a week. I did the male hormone test, but they also offer a variety of other tests, including general wellness, men’s health, and women’s health.
Companies such as LetsGetChecked offer you the peace of mind of laboratory tests from the comfort of your own home, which is crucial in these challenging times. Unfortunately, my test did not reveal that I am immune to poison ivy… but this rash also sort of proved that.
In an emergency, go to the doctor!
Not all health issues can be handled in the shower, over the phone, or by bleeding into a test tube. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “anyone who is experiencing symptoms of a stroke, heart attack or another medical emergency should call 911 right away. These include:
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Head injury or any other major injury
- Heart attack symptoms (tightness in the chest and arm, shortness of breath, nausea, feeling lightheaded)
- Loss of consciousness
- Poisoning or drug overdose
- Severe burns/cuts
- Severe COVID-19 symptoms, including shortness of breath
- Sudden and severe headache
- Severe, persistent abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Stroke symptoms (facial droop, arm weakness, speech difficulties)
- Suicidal feelings
Don’t be like 2015 Justin, who FaceTimed his mom while bleeding profusely, when he sliced through nerves and skin in his finger while preparing a roast (which still turned out deliciously, for the record) to see if he needed to go to the hospital. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, go to a doctor’s office or hospital immediately.
While there, just do us all a favor and adhere to social distancing guidelines. A facemask and standing six feet away from everyone else isn’t going to kill you or infringe on your freedoms, Karen. If you need to run out for prescriptions or follow ups, plan ahead to minimize your contact with others. While taking care of your health is important, make sure we’re all trying to protect the common good of all people’s health.
When we get back to normal…
Simply put, continue taking an active role in your health.
Whether you choose to continue with these “COVID19 habits” or add more regular in-person doctor visits, I think this pandemic has really shown us how important it is to take care of our health. While we may not know when this will all be over, two things are for sure:
- We need to make sure that we really… hit the ball out of the park when it comes to our health.
- Poison ivy is the plant of the Devil.
A self exam is how most cases of testicular cancer are detected early. Click the image for video directions or click here for a larger version
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