Millennials make up a quarter of the U.S. population, with people born between 1982 and 2000 now outnumbering baby boomers. And with such a large number of people comes a large number of health issues — like figuring out when to go to the emergency department versus a family doctor or urgent care center.
“I think it affects all ages with our rapid-paced society of ‘I want something done now,’ but it’s more common in the millennial generation,” says Jeff Madachy, D.O., a family physician at OhioHealth Primary Care and Pediatric Physicians of Delaware, in Ohio. “Diagnoses aren’t always clear, and sometimes answers only come after we treat what the most likely cause is.” We talked to Madachy about five health issues millennials may be ignoring.
1. Figuring Out Where to Go for Medical Care
Young people — much like the population at large — can have a hard time figuring out when to go to an urgent care center versus a family doctor versus an emergency room. Keep in mind that the ER is for emergency use, Madachy says.
2. Sports-related Injuries
Many young people are involved with sports and other athletic ventures that can lead to problems like knee, ankle or wrist pain. If that pain is severe and happened after a specific injury, Madachy recommends heading to an ER or urgent care center that handles casting or appropriate specialty care by orthopedics. But if it’s a chronic, nagging pain, Madachy recommends a trip to your family doctor.
3. Sexually Transmitted Infections
“There are certain sexually transmitted infections that are on the rise,” Madachy says. But they can be prevented. Madachy recommends that people get screened and practice safe sex, using condoms or another kind of protection to avoid unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
4. Travel Immunizations and Medicines
Many people — including young people — don’t think to visit their doctors before traveling overseas. But Madachy says travelers should visit a doctor at least a month before traveling so they can go over recommendations for immunizations and other preventive medicines based on particular countries.
“Obesity is such an epidemic in society,” Madachy says. And it affects millennials, too. So Madachy says young people should work to lose or maintain weight at an earlier age. “It’s a lot easier for your body to gain weight than it is to lose weight,” Madachy says. “And it’s a lot easier to get started on the right path early.”