John Hancock

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No one loves going to the doctor, and the impulse to ride out an illness at home can be strong. You don’t need to run to the clinic every time you get a stuffy nose, but some symptoms and milestones require a licensed medical professional (and no, Dr. Chicken Soup doesn’t count).

Here are six visits you just can't miss:

1. A bad flu. It can lead to serious complications—you require a doctor’s attention when you experience difficulty breathing, chest or stomach pain, lightheadedness, or dehydration from severe vomiting.

2. A knock on the head. Take it on a case-by-case basis, but know that even minor head injuries can be very serious under certain conditions, like if the person is over 65 or taking blood-thinning medication. Anyone who follows a head injury with severe headache, vomiting, or seizure should be seen by a doctor immediately—that goes for anyone who loses consciousness, too.

3. Chronic headache. Generally speaking, headaches are just a pain to deal with—a “real headache,” if you will. But in rare instances, a headache can be a warning sign of a serious condition like an aneurysm. According to WebMD, you should never ignore symptoms such as a sudden, severe head pain that feels different than previous headaches; one with neurological symptoms like weakness, dizziness, numbness, speech difficulties, confusion, seizures, strange behavior or vision trouble; a headache coupled with a fever, shortness of breath, stiff neck, or rash; or one that comes with vomiting.

4. Chest pains. There are plenty of non-terrifying reasons for mild chest pains, but you just can’t mess around with this one. Get thee to a doctor if you have severe heartburn, but , you’ll want to seek emergency care if you feel chest pain that spreads to the arm, neck or jaw; a feeling of pressure; trouble breathing; or chest pain accompanied by nausea or vomiting, excessive sweating, or an uneven pulse.

5. Regular cancer screenings. As we all know, our best defense against cancer is earliest possible detection. The American Cancer Society has published a detailed schedule for recommended cancer screenings, and while we could list 100 things more fun than a mammogram or a colonoscopy, it’s a must-do that pays off in a healthier future.

6. Annual checkups. So basic, but so easy to skip—but if you want to pursue a long and healthy life, it’s a fundamental box to check off, every single year. The CDC reminds us that regular physicals and blood work catch health problems before they start. Find a physician you feel comfortable with and build a relationship, so you have a doctor who understands your history, your lifestyle, and your needs.

Unless otherwise indicated, this article was written by John Hancock, and is intended to promote awareness and is for educational purposes, only. This article is not intended to provide any medical, financial, investment, insurance, legal, accounting, or tax advice.

 

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