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updated: 2/20/2013 11:35 AM

Be wise, don't compromise on your healthcare

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David Hass

DUPAGE COUNTY--February is Wise Health Consumer month and the DuPage County Health Department encourages County residents to be more involved in their own care. Studies show that Americans spend more time researching car and appliance purchases than they do choosing doctors and healthcare.

Here are 10 tips for being a wise healthcare consumer:

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• Take the time to carefully select a doctor or healthcare provider. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations.

• Prepare for visits to your healthcare provider by compiling lists of questions or concerns. By making the most of the time you have, you can avoid unnecessary calls and repeat visits.

• Ask questions about medications you are prescribed. Understand why you are taking it and how it should be taken. Finish all medications, even if you are feeling better.

• Keep a checklist of all medications you are taking and share this list with your healthcare provider. This is especially important if you are seeing more than one doctor.

• Be aware of routine medical tests and examinations, and the recommended times to have them. You may be able to avoid unnecessary and expensive tests.

• Use home medical tests when available. They are less costly and can be used without a visit to the doctor.

• Keep a well-stocked home pharmacy with commonly used medicinal items. This can help you deal with common problems and save costly trips to the doctor.

• Understand your health insurance plan. A list of basic questions about what is covered and knowing the answers to these questions can save time and money.

• Take care of your mental health as well as you would your physical health. States of emotional upset can interfere with daily living routines, and can ultimately affect you physical well-being.

• Keep a list of health agencies handy as a reference. Most are available by phone, fax or e-mail and can serve as a resource for free information and support.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.

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