It’s a trend a number of medical providers are noticing: more and more people are skipping out on yearly check-ups and procedures during the pandemic.

In fact, a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation from the first few months of the pandemic showed nearly one in two people had skipped an appointment or delayed care because of COVID-19.

Family practice physician and ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Janice Johnston has noticed the trend in her own practice.

“Definitely at the beginning of the pandemic,” she explains. “There was a drastic decline in those that were coming in for preventative measures, vaccines, pap smears that kind of thing — and understandably so. There was a lot of unknown regarding the virus and how it’s transmitted and the whole pandemic in general.”

But now that we’re a year into the pandemic, Dr. Johnston wants people to get back into the office to make sure they’re staying on top of all areas of their health, and that starts with vaccines.

“There are a number of vaccinations that are so important, especially for older adults to make sure that you’re maintaining. Your flu shot, your pneumonia vaccine, even tetanus shot, which can help protect against whooping cough.”

And then there are those health screenings that Dr. Johnston calls “The Big Three”: mammograms, prostate exams, and colonoscopies.

“Those things are super important,” Dr. Johnston explains.

This advice is especially crucial for people dealing with chronic diseases, but Dr. Johnston says it’s not limited to that population. Sometimes, a quick trip to your provider could help you catch something before it becomes an even bigger problem.

“I can’t tell you how many times when I’ve been examining a patient or listening to their lungs that I find something on their back.”


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