Managing Your Health and Health Care

  • Need health insurance?

    Even if you feel fine, it is important to go to doctors regularly to make sure that your body is healthy and to find problems before they might start. In general, this means a visit once a year to your doctor and some specialists and visits to your dentist every 6 months.

    Health insurance is an important part of being able to go the doctor. Insurance essentially allows you to not pay completely for all your medical costs, and helps protects you from large costs if by chance you do get sick. 

    Read more about different plans and how health insurance works in New York state: Health Insurance Program -Rockland County Department of Health.

    • Navigators/assistors, whose phone numbers and emails are listed at the bottom of this page, can help you figure out the process and help you get the right health insurance plan for you.

    For more assistance in figuring out health insurance and finding other navigators, look here: New York State of Health.

  • What happens at a check-up/well visit with your doctor?

    They will measure your height and weight and calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a tool to make sure you are at a healthy weight.

    They will perform a general physical exam- looking at your ears, throat, spine, and other simple procedures such as listening to your lungs and checking your blood pressure.

    • Make sure your vaccinations are up to date
    • Check your vision
    • Gives you an opportunity to discuss any concerns that you might have about your health
  • BMI

    Body Mass Index is calculated by a mathematical formula based on your height and weight. For teens up to 20, it is interpreted in comparison to other teens your age. If your doctor did not tell you your BMI you can use this calculator to calculate your percentile:

    This chart from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) can help you interpret your BMI.

    Weight Status Category

    Percentile Range

    Underweight

    Less than the 5th percentile

    Normal or Healthy Weight

    5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile

    Overweight

    85th to less than the 95th percentile

    Obese

    Equal to or greater than the 95th percentile

    If you have an “overweight” or “obese” BMI, you are at risk to be unhealthy and have health problems now and as an adult. It is important to speak with a doctor about these concerns.

    It is important to note that because BMI is only based on height and weight, it is not a definite indicator of health. For example, bodybuilders will have a high BMI because they have a large amount of muscle that weighs a lot, but will likely be in great shape. Since body fat is not taken into account. BMI is not a completely accurate tool, especially if you are athletic and have muscle.

    Remember that a high BMI does not mean you will definitely have health problems! Health consequences will happen to some people but not all.

  • For Girls

    Seeing a Reproductive Health Provider (Gynecologist)

    It is recommended that girls have their first visit to a reproductive health provider between ages 13 and 15. The doctor checks to make sure you have a healthy reproductive system and are healthy sexually. It is especially important to see a reproductive health provider if you are sexually active. She or he will perform important exams including a breast exam and a pelvic exam to screen for certain problems. Your primary care doctor may also provide these services.

    You may be nervous for your first visit, but here is what to expect during the visit and some commonly asked questions: Your First Gynecologic Visit FAQ (Especially for Teens) -ACOG

    A gynecologist will perform these exams, discuss your sexual activity with you, test you for STDs, and make sure everything is healthy. They can also discuss contraception options and prescribe you the pill or other types of birth control. Here are some clinics in the area where you can see a reproductive health provider.

    Hudson River Health Care

    • 31 West Broad Street 3rd Floor Haverstraw, NY. (845) 429-4499
    • 2 Perlman Drive Suite 101 Spring Valley, NY. (845) 573-9860

    Rockland County Department of Health -Women’s Health Services

    • Building A, Sanatorium Road Pomona, NY
    • 14 South Main Street Spring Valley, NY
    • (845) 364-2531 for Appointments- Pomona (Bldg A) and Spring Valley
    • (845) 364-2124 Alternate for Appointments 

    Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic

    • 25 Perlman DriveSpring Valley, NY 10977
    • (845) 426-7577

    Refuah Health Center- Women’s Health Services Clinic

    • 5 Twin AvenueSpring Valley, NY 10977
    • 728 N. Main Street Spring Valley, NY 10977
    • (845) 354-9300

    About your body, puberty, and your period

    Teens Health (kidshealth.org) has other great information for more specific questions about your sexual health

    Tracking Your Period

    It’s important to mark down when you got your period, and any special characteristics about it (bad cramps, abnormal bleeding) in order to make sure your body is working correctly. This is especially important if you are having sex because a missed period can mean you are pregnant. If you have repeated abnormal cycles, bleeding, or PMS, especially after the first year of your period, you should consider speaking with your gynecologist about it.

    There are many phone apps available that make it easy to track your period! Try:

    • Period Tracker Lite (GB Apps)
    • Period Diary (nanobitsoftware.com)
    • Clue Period Tracker (BioWink GmbH)
    • Period Tracker (Sevenlogics, Inc.)
  • For Guys

    Testicular Exams

    Testicular Exams are a regular part of a physical exam for boys. The doctor will feel your testicles for hernias or other lumps. Testicular cancer is rare in teens, but can happen. This is a normal procedure and it’s important to do every year to make sure everything is healthy. Read more about testicular exams here: Testicular Exams- Teens Health

    About your body and puberty

    Teens Healthhas other great information for more specific questions about your sexual health

  • I Don't Want My Parents to Know That I'm Going to the Doctor (especially about sex)!

    A big concern for many teens is whether their parents will find out about their sex life if they go to a clinic or doctor for sexual health care or a birth control prescription. Luckily, there are privacy laws in place to make your feel comfortable speaking openly with your doctor about sexual health issues without worrying if your parents will find out.

    Under New York State law, if you are under 18 and understand health risks and benefits, you can agree to many kinds of sexual health care without your parents or anyone else knowing or having to approve, including:

    • Prescriptions for birth control or emergency contraception
    • Abortion
    • Prenatal care and care during labor and delivery
    • Testing and treatment for STDs
    • HIV Testing
    • Sexual assault and rape testing, treatment, and counseling
    • Counseling for drug or alcohol use
    • Mental health care- meeting with a counselor, social worker, or psychologist

    In general, this is true. However, there are certain situations in which the confidentiality law does not apply such as in examples of child abuse, self-harm, or if you are going to harm someone else. There are also many more specific situations where the laws are more confusing. For much more detailed information, look here: Teenagers, Health Care, and the Law.

    Source: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/ms/ms-hti-guide.pdf

    Even though it might be difficult to bring up these topics with your parents, there are ways to make it less awkward! Remember they have lived much longer than you have; they know all about sex. They can also be helpful in making sure you’re safe if you are having sex without having to sneak around. If you’re considering speaking to your parents about sex or sexual healthcare, check out these links for tips.

Print out this B.R.A.I.N Card and put it in your wallet for guidance during a doctor's visit
if a treatment, test, or intervention is suggested.

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