In uncertain times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be unsure about how to handle your other medical needs. A virus is sweeping the world, but that doesn't mean that life doesn't go on. Maybe you are pregnant, need a knee surgery, or still want routine care such as a yearly physical exam. Can you safely visit a health care center during this time? Yes. However, you should be aware that some aspects of your care may change. There are a few things you can do safely receive medical care.
Be Prepared to Reschedule
Not every state or city has the same trends when it comes to the virus; some places are hit harder than others. If you are in a location where hospitals are overcrowded with COVID-19 patients, you may need to temporarily put off any medical care that isn't urgent. Your doctor may even reschedule your appointment or surgery. This does not mean that your care isn't important, just that it can wait while emergencies can't. To avoid being caught off guard by any changes in schedule, keep an eye on the virus statistics in your area. You should also be prepared to reschedule if you are experiencing any of the virus symptoms.
Consider Telehealth Appointments
Obviously, many medical care needs cannot be taken care of over a video call, such as a surgery or colonoscopy. However, some concerns and follow-up visits can take place through technology. Many doctor's offices and health insurance companies are doing everything they can to make these telehealth appointments more available. Contact your health care center for more information if you think you could be a good candidate for one of these appointments.
Know and Follow Your Clinic's New Policies
When telehealth appointments simply aren't an option, you will still need to visit a medical clinic in person. You should be aware that each clinic will have different new regulations for helping patients stay safe, and it's important to know what they are. Many will require you to wear a face mask. Some will not allow anyone else to come to the appointment with you, or if they do allow one support person, they may not allow that person to be under the age of 18 so you may need to arrange childcare. You will likely be met at the door to have your temperature checked and be asked about your symptoms and possible exposure. Signs on the floor and in the waiting area can help you stay an appropriate distance away from other people. Following your clinic's rules will help you and others stay healthy.
Even with the clinic's regulations, you can still do more to be responsible for your health. Wash or sanitize your hands before and after visiting the clinic. While there, avoid touching your face. Also avoid unnecessarily touching objects that are commonly touched, such as doorknobs and hand railings. Sneeze or cough directly into your mask or a tissue. For more information on keeping you and your family safe, visit the government's website for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms, your health and your family's health is still important! Don't hesitate to reach out to your medical clinic to discuss how to receive the care you need while also staying safe.