The Covid-19 pandemic is still here and the stay-at-home policies are still in effect, so many of you might think that it’s safer not to seek medical care, even if your loved one is sick. But is this the right call?
Is Going to the Doctor Safe?
According to the recent media reports, fewer patients are seeking medical help or scheduling doctor’s appointments because they are concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19. Emergency rooms around the country are also seeing a decline in patients with serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, or acute appendicitis.
However, delaying care—especially if you have a life-threatening condition—can actually make things worse than the COVID-19 infection itself. Ignore serious signs and symptoms can be dangerous. Even ignoring routine care, such as check-ups, can be dangerous.
When is the Right Time to See a Doctor in Person?
The moment you notice any medical issues or changes in your health, the first thing that you should do is contact your doctor and explain the symptoms. Not all medical issues are emergencies, but in case they are, your doctor can walk you through the next steps, whether that is seeing them at their office, or going to an urgent care facility or emergency department.
If you experience any of the following, you should call 911:
- Chest pain, heart-attack symptoms, or shortness of breath
- Confusion, loss of vision, numbness or weakness—these can be signs of a stroke
- Difficulty breathing
- Heavy bleeding
- A high fever
- Possible broken bones
- Serious injury or trauma
Sometimes your doctor will want you to do test such as bloodwork, X-rays, an MRI, etc. You can ask your doctor if this can wait, but if he/she feels that the tests are necessary and important, you shouldn’t postpone them.
When Should You Take Your Child to the Doctor?
Give the current medical crisis, it’s important to keep people safe from various diseases. There are some things that can be done through telemedicine, though not all. For example, children with chronic health conditions may need to see their specialists. It is also crucial that children keep up with their well visits. Practices across the country are working hard to adjust their workflow and tend to every patient as quickly and safely as possible.
Should You Wait on Vaccinations for Your Child?
Parents may have avoiding taking their child to the doctor because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but it is crucial to keep up-to-date with scheduled immunizations.
If you’re not entirely sure which visits are important, speak to your pediatrician and ask for more information.
Efforts of Medical Care Facilities to Keep Patients Safe
In order to minimize the risk of spreading germs, primary care doctors will take every necessary step in order to keep their contagious patients apart from those who are visiting for non-COVID-19 reasons.
Some practices will not even see patients with COVID-like symptoms. Others have separate waiting rooms. Facilities are screening for symptoms, seeing non-COVID patients during specific times, and more.
How can Telemedicine Help Patients During the Pandemic?
With the help of telemedicine, doctors can see their patients through a video visit. Many doctors are offering telemedicine, and it is a convenient way to see a doctor from the safety of your own home.
During video visits, doctors take the patient’s medical history, and through this method, can even perform some physical exams, too. Naturally, technology is not a replacement for in-person care, but it can help doctors to examine the patient and provide diagnosis.
Are Patients Struggling With Telemedicine?
Many patients, especially if they are older, have anxiety and fear of telemedicine. They worry they are not tech-savvy enough. But, that’s not the case. Technology and user interfaces have come a long way and are more user-friendly than ever before.
All telemedicine requires is a device such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer. For those who aren’t sure how to get set up, the doctor office’s administrative or support staff can often easily walk patients through the set up for a video visit.
For those who simply need to do a follow-up, refill a prescription, or ask a question, a phone call can be advantageous, as well.
If you’re not sure whether your insurance will cover a telemedicine visit, the easiest way to find out is to simply call your insurance provider and ask. They will be able to tell you if your plan covers the visit.
Today, as more and more physicians and medical professionals are offering telemedicine, the insurance industry is following the trend—and chances are, your plan has telemedicine coverage.