How to maintain your own medical records

Did you ever suspect that you once had an allergic reaction to a drug, but couldn’t remember which drug? Or that you already had a lab test your doctor wants to order, but couldn’t recall when? Do you forget the names of medications you’ve taken before or are taking now, or when you had vaccines for a particular disease?

Your doctor may know — or maybe not. And those missing pieces of information can come back to haunt you — with needless repeat testing, medication mishaps, even avoidable illness. When it comes to health matters, those who cannot remember the past may indeed be condemned to repeat it. It’s essential to have ready access to your own medical history.

Tracking down lost medical information can be a pain. It may require numerous telephone calls and some time-consuming paperwork. But that’s time well spent. Don’t wait until an urgent problem arises. And don’t rely on your ability to wade through piles of old bills and receipts to fill in the details. Plan ahead.

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