Why You Should Never Postpone Getting the Care You Need
Let’s say you’ve got a pretty packed week, full of work, meetings and personal commitments that are sure to keep you busy. But you’ve also been dealing with a nagging pain in your neck that just won’t go away. If you’re like a lot of people, you’ll convince yourself that the pain is no big deal so you don’t have to worry about squeezing a doctor’s visit into your schedule.
Sound like something you’ve thought? You aren’t alone: A 2014 survey found that 11 percent of respondents put off going to the doctor for non-serious issues while almost one in four people put it off for more serious conditions. That’s a whole lot of people not getting the care they need!
Unfortunately, avoiding the doctor can have some pretty serious consequences:
- Your illness can get worse. While some things can definitely be treated at home, there are other conditions that can escalate without professional care. For example, if you went to your primary care doctor at the first sign of a flu, you could get antiviral medication that can relieve symptoms and help you feel better faster. If you don’t, the flu could last much longer and even lead to serious complications like bronchitis or pneumonia.
- You could end up in the ER. Getting care early on can actually end up saving you a lot of time and money by avoiding a trip to the ER. In 2015, nearly half of the 500,000 emergency room visits by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members were unnecessary. And a portion of those ER trips could have been avoided if the illness were treated at the first signs.
- You could wind up ignoring an underlying issue. Doctor visits can shine a light on hidden health problems that may be causing your current issue—helping you avoid recurring problems down the road. For instance, you may go in to get treated for a sore throat and cough, and your doctor might notice some inflammation. From this, they may prescribe medication that will give you the relief you need and help avoid succumbing to additional, related illnesses in the future.
When it comes to staying healthy, preventive care is key. Schedule annual check-ups with your primary care doctor, even when you’re feeling well, and get all suggested screenings like skin checks and mammograms. If you ever need care and your primary care physician is unavailable, you have access to a variety of services like the 24-Hour Nurse Line or Blue Cross Online VisitsSM. Learn more about these resources at bcbsm.com/findcare.
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