Planning out checkups and screenings can be challenging, but this checklist is a great start for you and your family to stay healthy in 2022.
Let’s get real for a minute: Most Americans aren’t great at getting their recommended preventive care. A 2018 study found that fewer than 1 in 10 adults over age 35 got all of the “highly recommended” screenings every year, and 1 in 20 didn’t get any of them. We're here to help make your life easier! Use this checklist to give you and your family a great start to a healthy 2022.
You've heard that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," but an annual checkup can provide you with perhaps even more health benefits than that daily apple. Every adult should see a primary care provider at least once a year for things like:
Every child should also get a well-child check each year. Most parents schedule it around a child’s birthday with a primary care provider or pediatrician. But many children need health clearance to go back to school, so when your child gets older you can coordinate annual well-child checks with back-to-school checkups to get both done at the same time.
At your well-child checks, talk to the pediatrician about any recommended immunizations or booster shots. Public schools require specific immunizations to attend. You might get a list of required shots from your school as well. If you have questions about the vaccines, the reason your child needs them, and what it protects against, this is a great time to ask!
Adults also need booster shots for certain immunizations. For example, most people get their first Tdap shot (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis/whooping cough) around 11 or 12 years old. Adults should get a booster every 10 years, or more often if they experience a severe burn or wound that is at risk of tetanus infection.
Whether you spend a little too much time in the sun or you are a devoted sunscreen user, it’s important to get your skin checked each year. The doctor can look for suspicious moles or lesions, and conduct a biopsy or other test if they see something that looks out of the ordinary. Getting these screenings every year is particularly important because most people have at least a few moles or spots on their skin. Your doctor can review them each year, measuring and photographing them for reference, to see if they are changing.
It might surprise you to learn that your oral health (teeth and gums) plays a big role in your overall health. Keep your pearly whites nice and clean with regular visits. Most dentists recommend coming in at least once every 6 months for an exam and cleaning.
As we age our risk of disease increases. Getting preventive screenings can help doctors treat conditions that could lead to more severe disease or a lower quality of life. Men and women should get a colonoscopy every 5 to 10 years starting at age 45, and bone density screenings (DEXA scans) starting at age 65. You should also ask about getting updated immunizations for pneumonia and shingles.