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Your End of Year Health Checklist

There’s lots to plan for as the new year approaches. For many people, that includes health goals like working out more or cutting back on sugar. However, it’s important to make sure you’re remembering the little stuff. These are simple things you can do for yourself and your family to make sure you’re getting the most out of your health care provider. 

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Schedule Checkups

Everyone in the household needs an annual checkup or physical – Mom, Dad, Grandma, Auntie, and the kids. It’s essential to get those done so you can keep track of changes that occurred over the last year. They’re important for everyone but especially for children who are reaching developmental milestones. Missing those checkups could cause you to miss critical moments where intervention is necessary to prevent future issues. The checkups can also lead to recommended screenings which could turn out to be lifesaving

Visit the Gynecologist

Or make the appointment, at least. This visit goes beyond a routine physical. People with female reproductive organs should have annual visits to get pelvic and breast exams along with other screenings.

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Visit the Dentist

Oral hygiene cannot be overlooked. A beautiful smile and healthy teeth are great. But a number of serious health conditions — cancer, heart disease, or diabetes — can be traced back to poor oral care.

Get an Eye Exam

It is something you should do annually if you wear glasses or contacts. You can do it less frequently if you don’t have any vision issues. Your doctor will make recommendations about how often you should see an eye doctor. The younger you are, the less frequently you need go.

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Get Moving

Any activity is good activity. No one is asking you to run a marathon. You just need to move, and not much. Start by walking 15 minutes a day. Ideally you should get to a point where you’re walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You’re not doing it to lose weight. You’re doing it for the health of your heart and to lower your blood pressure, helping your body for years to come.

Ask About Skin Screenings

When you visit your doctor for a checkup, ask about any spots that you are concerned about. They can recommend seeing a dermatologist about any moles or freckles that are raised or have changed in shape or size since your last visit. Have your skin checked annually if you are at risk for skin cancer — if you work outdoors, or have a family history — or have other skin conditions.

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Meal Prep

Bad eating habits are often the result of poor planning. We get busy and, despite good intentions, our healthy eating habits fall to the wayside. Spending one day preparing meals for the week will help us ensure we eat healthier and not neglect nutrition when we don’t have the energy to cook for ourselves or our families.

Let Our Family Care for Yours

Good health should be simple: it should be easy for you to find doctors who can give you and your family the care you need when you don’t feel well, or when you’re healthy and want to stay that way. And it should be simple for you to find care that’s close to home and doctors who speak your language and understand what’s important to you. We have bilingual health care professionals in your neighborhood. In fact, many of our doctors live in the communities they serve. We’re dedicated to helping individuals and families get the right care they need to grow healthy.

Get started by calling (888) 499-9303.

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See how AltaMed Health Services can help your family grow healthy.

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Cut Back on Screen Time to Boost Mental Health

We have access to more information than any generation before us. Nearly all of human knowledge is at our fingertips, twenty-four hours a day. But whether you want to find a new recipe, watch a viral video, or stay informed about current events, you need a screen.

For many people, screens have become an essential part of how we do things. We’re surrounded by them – in our pockets, our offices, our living rooms, bedrooms, and even on our wrists. We can decide, however, how much time we spend on them. Limiting screen time has been shown to improve our mood and help us engage with the people and activities that matter most.

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Ways to Manage Screen Time

We’ve made a habit at looking at our phones. Anytime we’re not having conversations, we’re gaming or scrolling through social media. Sometimes we need a little quiet time. That’s when we’re at our most creative.

Here are some tips for reducing the amount of time you spend on your device.

  • Manage news consumption — We are constantly bombarded with news. While it’s important to stay informed, we don’t need to know everything every second. It’s OK to pause the 24-hour news cycle.
  • Turn off notifications — Do you really need to know that someone posted a vacation photo or a picture of their meal? Keep track of appointments, but the social media updates can go.
  • Stay focused — If you’re looking at your phone while watching TV or worse, spending time with someone, what does that say about what you’re doing? Maybe you need to find another activity or reexamine how you conduct relationships.
  • Just eat — Mealtime should be for meals. You should savor your food. Pay attention to the conversations you’re having and notice when you’re getting full. When eating at home, make it a rule to put away your screens.
  • Set screen-free times and zones at home — It’s a good idea not to look at screens right before bed. It makes it hard to fall asleep because of the light given off by your devices. So, don’t look for at least half an hour before bedtime. See if you can make that last longer. Also designate certain parts of the house or apartment as screen-free.
  • Find screen alternatives — Go for a walk, meditate, read a book, sit outside, or find another activity that doesn’t involve looking at your device. Sitting in silence with your thoughts gives you an opportunity to process and reflect on your day.
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Benefits of Less Screen Time

Prying yourself free of your device gives you the opportunity to do different things. Here are five benefits to less screen time.

  1. Improve physical health — Putting down the phone and turning off the TV give you a chance to move. Movement can help prevent obesity and conditions related to excess weight. You’ll have more time to exercise and play. You can also get better sleep with less screen time.
  2. Discover new things — You live in Southern California where there’s always something to do. Get out and explore what’s around you. It also gives you the opportunity to try new hobbies.
  3. Connect socially — Face-to-face connections are vital to making ourselves and others feel cared for. We show our children and loved ones what’s truly important when we put our phones down and spend time with them.
  4. Boost your mood — Time spent on a screen makes it easier to withdraw and become depressed. Once you’re off the phone, you’re more inclined to engage socially with others. It can also help to eliminate feelings of anxiety and depression.
  5. Build community — With the phone out of your hand you can build stronger connections with:
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Coworkers

Mental Health Is Part of Your Health

AltaMed is here for you, and we’re committed to your mental and physical well-being. To learn more about AltaMed behavioral health services, call 855-425-1777.

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Stop the Spread of COVID-19 During the Holidays

Despite our progress, COVID-19 variants, and other infectious diseases like influenza, continue to emerge. That’s why it’s important to stay cautious during the holidays to keep from spreading COVID-19 and the flu to vulnerable family and community members.

It should be safer to spend time with loved ones this holiday season, especially if everyone is fully up-to-date with their vaccines. This means completing a primary COVID-19 vaccine series, getting eligible boosters, and the flu shot this fall. If you are current with your vaccines, you can resume normal activities more safely.

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Taking Precautions for Each Other

To provide additional protection against COVID-19, booster shots are now approved for fully-vaccinated individuals age five and older. It is still important to continue to follow the basic precautions of properly wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining physical distance. The best precaution for holiday gatherings is to limit them to only those who have been vaccinated.

This holiday season you can get everyone around the dinner table to celebrate a holiday meal more safely if they have been vaccinated. Eating outside and maintaining distance between guests is an added precaution to protect any guests who are not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are not up-to-date on their boosters and flu shots. If you can’t gather outdoors, try to create space between people while they are eating.

Also, ask family members to get the flu vaccine. The flu can be dangerous and can weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to COVID-19. Keep in mind that young children are more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses this year, so it’s really important for everyone to be vaccinated. Remind guests that it is okay to skip out on a holiday meal if they are not feeling well, and consider delivering their meal to them instead.

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Easy Ways to Make Gathering Safer

No matter how big or small your celebration is, here are some tips for protecting everyone's well-being:

  • Try to limit attendance to those who have been vaccinated.
  • Gather outside to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Don’t spend too much time in a confined space.
  • Wear a mask when not eating or drinking.
  • Try to maintain some distance or stay masked if not fully vaccinated.
  • Avoid setting up a buffet unless you know everyone is up-to-date with their vaccines and boosters.
  • Ask guests to self-test for COVID-19 prior to gathering in large groups.
  • Place hand sanitizing stations across your home to encourage good hand hygiene.
  • Improve air flow inside your home if you can’t gather outside. Point fans toward intake vents and open screened windows or doors to improve air flow.
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If You’re Traveling

Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza, and carry face masks and hand sanitizer with you. If you travel by plane or bus, make sure to wear a well-fitting mask. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask when you are in crowded areas. If you book a hotel or Airbnb, make sure you trust the sanitizing procedures. Don’t feel awkward calling to ask about their cleaning policies or to find out the last time someone occupied the space you reserved and how that space was cleaned.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, and the flu shot are available at AltaMed. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment. For more information, click here

Get Started with AltaMed

AltaMed can provide information to you about the best way to protect yourself and your family during the holidays from COVID-19. We have several resources that you can share with those you plan to gather with. Learn more by calling (888) 499-9303.

Your End of Year Health Checklist