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Mon October 21, 2013

October is Health Literacy Month, and the DuPage County Health Department urges residents to improve their health literacy so they are able to obtain and understand basic health information and services, which are essential to making appropriate health decisions.

The Federal Government says nearly nine out of 10 adults have difficulty using the everyday health information that is routinely available in healthcare facilities, retail outlets, in the news media and in their communities. Limited health literacy is associated with poorer health outcomes and higher health costs.

We must work together to ensure that health information and services can be understood and used by everyone.  Here are some health literacy tips:

  • Ask questions.  Make sure you understand the answers. If you don't understand, ask the doctor or nurse for more information.
  • Repeat information back to your doctor or nurse. After your doctor or nurse gives you directions, repeat those instructions in your own words.
  • Bring all of your medicines to your next doctor's visit. Ask your doctor to go over all of your drugs and supplements, including vitamins and herbal medicines. More than one-third of adults struggle to understand how to take their medicines.
  • Have another adult with you. This might be especially true when you expect to receive important information.
  • Let the doctor's office know you need an interpreter if you don't speak or understand English very well.  Even if you speak some English, tell the doctor's office what language you prefer when you make an appointment. 

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