Honesty is the best Policy

When you come to an appointment at Student Health, we ask you a lot of questions.  Some of these may seem to be unrelated to your appointment, but all of these questions serve a purpose and it’s important that you answer them honestly.

What is the reason for your visit?  The answer you give to this question directly impacts how your provider prepares for you visit.  If you schedule an appointment for a sore throat, but you really want the provider to check out your hemorrhoids, well that would be quite a surprise for your provider and any preparation that has been done for that sore throat would be time wasted.  In some cases an incorrect reason for visit may result in the rescheduling of an appointment as the real reason could require additional time or a specific room.  Be honest when scheduling your appointment and tell them why you need to be seen.

Do you use tobacco and if so how much/often?  The perils of smoking have been touted all over the news, lung cancer, heart disease, premature aging, and so on.  Tell your provider of your tobacco usage, even if it’s one cigarette a week.  This is part of your history and can affect how your provider monitors you.  Oh – and yes, hookah is tobacco so don’t forget to include that in your conversation.

Do you drink alcohol and if so how much/often do you drink?  You might think that it’s not important to mention the tailgate party you attended last week or the Sangria you had the week before – you ate the fruit and that’s healthy, right? – but be honest with your provider and let them determine if it’s important or not.  Too much alcohol consumption has been linked to increased risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer and only your provider will be able to determine if you fall within these categories.

What medications/supplements are you currently taking?  Your provider needs to know all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking and that includes all supplements, vitamins, and pain relievers.  Some supplements cause interactions with medications and the only way for your provider to identify these possible interactions is if you tell them what you are taking.

What symptoms are you experiencing?  Tell your provider your symptoms, even if it’s just that you’ve been feeling tired or sad.  If what you’ve been experiencing is not normal for you, let your provider know.  The information you give your provider all contributes to their ability to properly diagnose and treat you.

If you don’t tell your provider everything, they can’t help you. So fess up – your health depends on it. 

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Reviewed by Mary Lynn Kiacz, MD