How to Make the Most of Your Annual Visit

Friday, September 06, 2013 2:22 PM comments (0)

annual visit“How are you feeling?” is probably one of the first questions your doctor will ask during your annual visit. If you haven’t needed to see your doctor between physicals, your answer will most likely be, “Fine.” It won't be until later that you remember all the miscellaneous symptoms, heath issues, and aches and pains from the last year. 

Don’t miss another opportunity to maximize your time with your doctor. By planning and preparing beforehand, you ensure that you’ll remember to ask the correct questions during the limited time you have with your primary care physician.  

Curtis Mann, MD, Family Medicine at NorthShore, offers some tips on how to make the most of your time with your doctor:

  • Make a list of symptoms. Prepare a list of the aches, pains, symptoms and changes in your health that might have caused concern at some point between your annual visits. Prioritize your list of symptoms so that you can be sure to address those that are the most concerning. You might not be able to go over everything at your annual visit but you’ll be able to touch on everything during future visits. 
  • Have a list of important questions prepared. When pressed for time, questions that were high priority might get lost in the shuffle. Prepare a list of questions you want answered in advance and use it to jog your memory during your appointment.
  • Make another list of prescriptions and medications. Your list should include everything, from prescriptions to vitamins and supplements. You want to ensure you are giving your doctor your full health story. 
  • Come prepared to answer your doctor’s questions. This isn’t your first visit to a doctor, so come prepared to answer the basic topics: family health history, health concerns, etc. This will leave you more time to ask any specific questions you might have. 
  • Dress for the occasion. You might not have much face-to-face time with your doctor, so don’t wear clothing that requires lots of time to get on and off. To save even more time, ask to change into a gown before your doctor enters the room.
  • Write down what your doctor tells you. You’ll probably cover a lot of ground in very little time. Your doctor will write your prescriptions but lifestyle recommendations might be told to you. Write down recommendations your doctor makes so you can remember to follow them in the year between visits. 
  • Ask about a follow-up visit. If there are issues you have not addressed during your annual exam, ask your doctor about a follow-up visit before leaving the office.
  • Review printed materials after your visit. Don’t wait to read the materials your doctor provides, whether they are printed for you or provided through NorthShoreConnect. Are the medications listed correctly? Are your listed health issues up to date? This is where the teamwork between physician and patient can maximize healthcare outcomes.

Do you have a yearly physical? How do you make the most of your annual visit?


Safety First - The Prescription for a Long, Fun Fall Sports Season

Monday, August 13, 2012 11:41 AM comments (0)

Fall-SportsAs summer vacation winds down, you and your kids may be getting ready for the upcoming academic year and school sports season. This preparation may include revisiting equipment needs, as well as scheduling an annual or sports physical.

Depending on the sport and school, many students who plan to play on their school’s sports team are required to get a sports physical before he or she is allowed to practice or play. Even if your child isn’t playing a sport, physicals are recommended for students starting in kindergarten through high school.

Cherise Russo, DO with NorthShore, gives her recommendations for prepping for the school sports season:

  • Schedule an annual physical with your child’s physician. Physicals are an opportunity to get a comprehensive look at your child’s growth, weight, body functions, mental state and maturity. They help to provide a good year-over-year baseline for your child’s health record. Make sure to schedule your child’s back-to-school physical at least two weeks before tryouts and practices in case any tests or labs have to be checked prior to receiving clearance.
  • Do an equipment evaluation. Depending on the sport, your child may need new equipment and clothing. Be sure that helmets, shoes and clothing fit appropriately. It’s also not a bad idea to see if any of the guidelines or safety measures on equipment has changed since the last year.
  • Prevent Heat Illness.  Heat illness ranges from heat cramps to heat stroke.  When heat illness strikes, it is important not to try to practice through it! Inform your athlete to notify coaches if he or she is not feeling well during practice.  Be prepared before the first day of practice.  Gradually increase workouts and intensity approximately two weeks before practice.    Wear loose-fitting clothing and stay well hydrated.  Urine should look like lemonade and not concentrated like apple juice.
  • Start good hydration habits. Two hours before exercise an athlete should drink at least 16 oz of fluids.  During exercise, drink at least 7–10 oz every 20 minutes or sooner if thirsty.  After a workout or competition, drink 24 oz (3 cups) per pound body weight lost through sweat. These are general guidelines and vary among individuals.  It is also helpful to try to drink fluids with electrolytes, like sodium, as drinking only water may make things worse. It is best to limit and eliminate the consumption of caffeinated beverages.
  • Get to know your certified athletic trainer (ATC).  Reassure your athlete that he or she shouldn’t  be afraid to see the athletic trainer if  an injury is suspected. The athletic trainer can help your child get back to playing at a top performance level sooner.

How many sports are your kids involved with at school?

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