The average person would try to avoid seeing the doctor as much as humanly possible. They would try to avoid visiting the hospital at all cost, and one particular reason is that they are afraid of the costs involved in seeking medical services. Residents in the Visayas region in the Philippines, for example, believe that they cannot afford the bills related to visiting hospitals in Cebu City.
While a lot of conditions can get better with some rest, home remedies, or over-the-counter medications, there are also certain conditions that require professional medical intervention, including those that are best managed when detected and treated early. Further, a lot of harm can happen to those who self-diagnose and self-medicate.
To say that seeing a doctor is important is an understatement. If you feel something unusual in your body, going to the doctor should be your immediate mindset. And this is especially true if you feel any of the following five signs that you need to seek medical care:
For ages 11 to 65, fever can be considered once the body temperature breaches the normal range of 97.6–99.6°F (36.4–37.5°C). Fever usually occurs when the body tries to battle an infection. More often than not, home management of fevers are okay, and a lot of OTC medicines such as acetaminophen (paracetamol), aspirin, and ibuprofen, help lower body temperature with no issue.
However, if you experience a fever of at least 103° F (39.4° C), then this merits professional medical consultation.
You should also seek medical care if your fever:
- persists for three days despite taking medicine;
- is accompanied by a skin rash (especially one that seems to progress quickly), stiff neck, unusual sensitivity to light, vomiting, difficulty of breathing, chest pain, seizures, convulsion, and confusion or listlessness
The common cold is usually something that we dismiss, something we brush off and go on with our daily lives with. Like fever, we usually just manage with home remedies such as increased fluid intake, and increasing consumption of citrus fruits or vitamin C, or taking OTC medicines such as analgesics or antihistamines. More often than not, colds are gone within a week.
But should your colds last for more than a week, then it is time to seek medical consultation. This is especially true if you have other symptoms such as coughing and wheezing as you may have an infection that requires antibiotics or other forms of treatment. Alternatively, you may also have an allergy that needs to be managed either by eliminating the cause, or by taking strong antihistamines.
Chest pain is something that we should not take lightly. This is especially true as the prompt treatment of a heart attack is vital in avoiding major damage to the heart, which may lead to death if too late. Note that it is not safe for those who experience chest pains to drive so best to have someone else drive you to the hospital.
Unexplained weight loss
If you notice a sudden loss of at least 10% of your weight in a span of six months without recent changes in your diet or lifestyle, then it is best to consult your doctor to check the possibility of thyroid problems, diabetes, liver disease, or other conditions that may have caused it.
Any sudden changes in your body
If you feel sudden changes in your body such as changes your arms and legs, or slurred speech or vision problems, or changes in urination or bowel movement, or sudden shortness of breath, or even changes in your mood and mental state, it is best to consult with your doctor in order to assess for underlying conditions. Changes in our bodies normally happen as we age, but when changes happen suddenly, it is best that a doctor conducts tests to diagnose certain conditions especially stroke, tumors, and cardiac issues so that immediate medical intervention is done before your condition worsens.
Our health should be our top priority. If you feel something is wrong with your body, especially when you experience at least one of the above, you should seek professional medical consultation. It is better to receive normal diagnosis rather than to being blind-sided by a medical condition that could be best managed and treated when detected early.