Illness & disability
Taking care of your health
Doing more to take care of your health is a big part of growing up. You can help in lots of ways. To find out which health skills you know well and which ones you need to learn or practice, see our Health Skills Checklist.
Steps you can take to do more for your health:
- Read about your health issue. One place to find health information is the Internet. To find online information you can trust, check out these links about different illnesses and disabilities. Also, check at your school or public library for books and magazine articles. You can also ask your doctor to suggest resources. As you read about your health condition, make a list of questions and bring the list with you when you visit the doctor.
- Keep a record of your medical history. It should include illnesses, dates of operations, treatments, names of doctors, what the doctors told you to do, and so on. If your parents have already started a record for you, you can add to it. Bring the record with you to your doctor visits and show it to the doctor.
- See if you feel ready to schedule your own doctor’s appointments. If you know that you will have a lot to talk about with your doctor, ask for a longer appointment so you won't run out of time.
- Prepare for your medical appointments by making a list of the important issues that need to be covered and making sure to ask about all of them.
- If you start to feel sick but don't need to see a doctor right away, make a doctor’s appointment for a few days later. That way you’ll make sure you can get help when you need it. But if you get better before your appointment, be sure to cancel the appointment right away!
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or do drugs. If you already do, try to quit.
- Keep your weight at a healthy level. Make sure you follow the doctor’s advice about the things you should eat and do. For physical activity tips, visit our Fitness section.
- Make time to do the things you enjoy and spend time with people you love. Being happy can help your body feel better.
- Ask your doctor, parents, or counselor any questions you have about sex or puberty. It is normal to have questions, so don’t be embarrassed or shy. Learn what you need to know to take good care of your changing body.
Finally, follow the treatment plan you and your doctor agree on and work with your parents to get answers to any questions you have.
Planning for health
To make it easier to keep track of your health plan, girlshealth.gov has a worksheet that you can print out and fill out at your next doctor, therapist, and counselor visits.
Content last updated February 16, 2011