Health Appointments: Is it Safe to Visit a Doctor during a Pandemic?

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Even as the vaccine is gradually being released across the country, people are starting to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. When everything goes back to normal, people can finally go back to their regular activities before the pandemic started.

Some things people put on hold due to the pandemic may be long overdue. These activities include hosting a party, eating out with family and friends, and even visiting your doctor. While many of these activities aren’t essential, visiting the family doctor is essential for many people.

But before you go out and drop by your doctor’s clinic, you may have to consider the following things:

Inquire About Virtual Appointments

There may be instances when visiting your doctor physically isn’t necessary. But you may want to consult your doctor for something. At this point, you can inquire about virtual appointments. If telemedicine is available, you can consult your doctor this way. You can also consult your doctor through phone or email.

But video calls are the best way to consult your doctor virtually since it will allow the doctor to see you. Besides giving you an accurate diagnosis through a video call, your doctor can also order additional tests, if necessary, even if you’re not physically in the clinic.

Consulting your doctor virtually allows you to avoid the need to go out of your home. This is particularly important if you have an underlying condition that may put you at a higher risk of developing severe illness when you’re exposed to the virus.

Before your online appointment, you should list all your questions and concerns to ensure the consultation will be productive. You can also send a picture of a rash or allergy you may have developed while staying at home. You can also ask someone in the house to take notes for you to allow you to focus on the consultation.

Determine Your Health Risk

There may be instances when an online consultation isn’t enough. You may need to visit your family doctor or even your dentist. For instance, you may need to have some orthodontic appliances installed. In these cases, you should ask yourself if you have a higher risk of developing a serious illness if you catch the virus. People with underlying conditions, such as obesity and chronic kidney disease, are more susceptible to getting seriously ill if they catch the virus.

So, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of visiting your doctor’s or dentist’s clinic. You may also schedule your visit when there are only a few people in the clinic. But before you do so, you should check with your doctor if it’s possible.

Continue Taking the Medications You Need

To reduce the need to visit your doctor, you should continue any maintenance medications you’re taking. For instance, if you’re taking medications for hypertension, you should continue taking them. You can check with your doctor if it’s necessary to change or increase the medication dosage.

Taking your medications also allows you to avoid health emergencies. It also allows you to continue staying at home until the pandemic is over. If there’s a need to restock your supply, some pharmacies offer deliveries of medicine whenever necessary. Some insurance companies also offer medication refills to encourage people to stay home.

Maintain the Important Preventive Care

While you may not want to leave the safety of your home, you shouldn’t put off routine care. For instance, you may have to consult about your mammography or colonoscopy procedure. Putting it off for a month or two may not matter. But you should avoid putting it off for more than six months.

At this point, prevention is better than cure. So, you’ll have to check with your doctor about it. Similarly, you should also follow vaccination schedules whenever possible. Children can continue receiving vaccines even during the pandemic. You can work with your pediatrician with the schedule to reduce the risk to your family.

Go to the Hospital Only for Emergencies

The current surge in coronavirus cases in the United States has made it even more challenging for medical personnel to deal with the pandemic. The situation is also getting more difficult as hospital beds get scarcer with more patients coming in every day.

With this, you should avoid going to the hospital if it’s not an emergency. You should rely on telemedicine whenever possible to avoid the risk of catching the virus. Moreover, you can also help medical personnel by staying home and encouraging your family and friends to do the same.

The pandemic changed our lives ever since it started last year. But the day will come when everything will go back to what it used to be.

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