Every spring, many of us turn our attention to the often daunting—but rewarding—task of spring cleaning. Normally, spring cleaning is associated with tidying up your household, organizing your closets, cleaning out the fridge or the garage, or sometimes even taking steps to address your financial health. But what about spring cleaning for our mental and physical health? For many, the spring season brings with it the feeling of a fresh start, and it presents a great opportunity to make our health and wellbeing a priority.
HERE ARE THREE HEALTH “TO-DOS” TO INCLUDE ON YOUR SPRING CLEANING LIST THIS YEAR:
REVIEW YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION
Much like you might review and gather your financial documents for tax season, it’s a good idea to collect and examine your medical records annually. It’s important to ensure the information in your medical records is accurate, up to date and can be found easily in one place.
And just like you’d talk to an accountant about questions regarding your taxes, be sure to flag any concerns in your medical records with your doctor. Thanks to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), everyone has the right by law to access and correct errors in their medical records. Usually, this is as simple as just asking your doctor to correct an error.
You can also download the Blue Cross NC mobile app Blue Connect to help keep track of medical records and claims digitally and to access our Find a Doctor and Cost Estimator tools.
CHECK YOUR MEDICINE CABINET
While many of us spring clean our kitchens and closets, we often don’t think about tackling our medicine cabinets. Expired, unused or unnecessary medications can pose a danger in the household. Properly disposing of unwanted, unused or expired medications helps prevent drug misuse, addiction, environmental contamination and accidental ingestion by children, elderly adults, and family pets. Start by pulling everything out of the medicine cabinet, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, ointments, supplements, and vitamins. Discard any item that is beyond its expiration date or is over a year old.
Make sure to also remove any personal or identifying information from the bottles. Blue Cross NC has partnered with Mutual Drug and Inmar to set up 85 drop-off boxes in 75 NC counties for responsible medication disposal. You can visit any one of our drop-off facilities across the state to safely and properly dispose of unwanted or expired medications.
SCHEDULE PREVENTIVE APPOINTMENTS
Don’t forget to schedule preventive appointments, too. Research shows that high-quality primary care leads to significantly better patient health and lower costs. So, just like having your HVAC units serviced in preparation for a new season, spring is a great time to schedule your regular health checkup.
Assessing your health regularly through annual wellness visits can help keep health issues in check before they become serious and costly, and may also help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.
With the official start of spring just around the corner, now is the time to escape the doldrums of winter and redevelop healthy habits or establish new ones. In addition to checking your medical records and scheduling appointments as you’re spring cleaning your health, take time to think about other ways to freshen up your health routine. This may include moving more, eating smarter, or prioritizing good sleep.
So why stop with spring cleaning your home, office or personal space? Whether it’s downloading Blue Connect to help organize your medical records and claims or going through your medicine cabinet to dispose of unused drugs, make 2019 the year your health makes it onto your spring cleaning checklist.