Health in the New Year

325th Medical Group

325th Medical Group

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The New Year is here and with it come resolutions. After the parties and celebrations at the end of 2014, many are looking toward health as their number one resolution.

"I am in pretty good health," said Senior Airman Melanie Maier, 325th Fighter Wing protocol specialist. "However, each year I like to make improving my health a New Year's resolution because there is always room for improvement. In my opinion it is important that we take care of ourselves. If you don't fight for yourself, who will?"

To execute the mission successfully, Airmen must be fit to fight which starts with having a healthy lifestyle.

"Leading a healthy lifestyle enables an Airman to enjoy life at their fullest potential," said Col. Frederick Weaver, 325th Medical Group commander. "It makes you more resilient and involves many factors that include eating habits, exercise, risk taking behaviors, etc. An Airman's performance and quality of life is directly affected by those factors. This improves performance, both on and off duty. We need to remember that a healthy lifestyle in the context of 'mission' is high performance."

A part of this healthy lifestyle is seeking medical attention when feeling sick by calling the Nurse Advice Line or going to the clinic.

"When symptoms persist, getting medical advice and care immediately can limit the amount of downtime and ultimately get you back to your normal level of performance," said Weaver. "The NAL is a valuable tool that is provided by the Department of Defense and is a good starting point to quickly determine if symptoms warrant an appointment, an immediate emergency room visit or home care."

The patient can reach the NAL by calling 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273). The NAL is a 24/7, toll free service available to all TRICARE beneficiaries that can provide medical advice and make appointments for the caller through Tyndall's medical clinic. The NAL can also make appointments with local civilian clinics if there are no available appointments on base.

"While some symptoms may seem normal, only a medical professional can determine if there is an underlying condition manifesting itself that if caught early enough would prevent major health issues," said Weaver.

Once an appointment is made, it is imperative that the patient attend their appointment to receive treatment or reschedule at least two hours prior to avoid waste of Air Force man-hours and clinic assets. 

"With constrained resources, every appointment must be kept," said Weaver. "Missing an appointment affects the mission negatively. There is an increased workload; missed appointments severely reduce mission efficiency.  

"Additionally, missing an appointment means that there is a missed opportunity for a beneficiary, you or your family member, to be seen in the clinic. This could delay an Airman's return to duty, being world-wide qualified, potential delay in care coordination for referrals/specialty care, and of course potential delays in returning an Airman to their full performance level.  We need every Airman functioning at their full potential in order for mission performance to be as high as possible."

Outside of illnesses, being healthy is a personal decision.

"No one can do it for you; you have to eat right, exercise, stop smoking (includes vaping and smokeless tobacco), drink responsibly, manage stress, and get adequate rest," said Weaver. "Make healthy living an everyday habit, do what works for you."

Members of Team Tyndall have many programs and organizations available to them to help fulfill their 2015 health resolutions. Stay tuned for more articles this month that explore and explain these in detail.