During the COVID-19 Pandemic, more and more individuals opt to skip regular doctor’s appointments for fear of becoming infected with the virus in their doctor’s office or hospitals. While it is natural to feel anxious about entering an area that directly deals with illness, it is also important to not miss out on going to the doctor if you are suffering from non-COVID-19 related illnesses or injuries, at the risk of them becoming worse and requiring further treatment. Listed below are the top tips to prepare for a visit to the doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1) Ask About Safety Precautions
All doctors’ offices will have safety precautions in place, with most offices currently following CDC guidelines. Currently, CDC protocols advise doctors and other medical center staff to perform a number of safety precautions. These include putting up signs for understanding proper COVID-19 etiquette, limiting the number of visitors to the office, having hand sanitizer and masks available and encouraging social distancing in both the waiting room and between doctor and patient when possible. To see if the doctor you will be visiting follows these protocols or similar ones, give them a call beforehand.
2) Get Yourself Prepared for the Visit
Various health organizations have recommended that the public wear masks and wash their hands regularly to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ensure that you have a mask ready for your appointment, and ensure that you are wearing it correctly, so that it completely covers both your nose and mouth. Additionally, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer prior to entering the office and after checking in, close contact with other individuals or touching any high-contact areas such as doorknobs.
3) See if You Can Check in Ahead of Time
These days, checking in for a doctor’s appointment has become easier than ever. Many offices are now offering such services as virtual check-ins using certain websites or even phone apps like Mychart. Moreover, more and more people use online resources like these to keep track of their own medical records and medical information. Additionally, many offices are now offering contactless payment during check out so there does not have to be an exchange of cash or cards between patient and receptionist.
4) Consider Virtual Doctor Visits
Some individuals decide to remain completely virtual for their doctor’s appointment, which is a great alternative for those who still feel uncomfortable visiting a traditional doctor office. Luckily, this is now possible thanks to telemedicine. In a telemedicine appointment, patients can ask any medical questions they may have or discuss their symptoms with their doctor via video call, phone call, e-mail or even a messaging system. From this, doctors can diagnose a patient, prescribe medication and give patients further advice on whether to seek further care or treatment.
5) Look into Alternative Prescription Pick-Ups
If you have gone to either an in-person doctor’s appointment or a virtual one, your doctor may have prescribed you medication. While during pre-COVID times, many may have gone to a pharmacy to pick up their medication, it is now recommended to consider getting your prescriptions in a different manner to avoid having to enter a pharmacy that may have COVID-19 risks. Consider ordering your prescriptions by mail or by delivery from the pharmacy itself. In fact, more and more pharmacies are now offering delivery services to provide a safer alternative for customers and pharmacists alike.
The way we perform many activities has changed since before the COVID-19 virus, but fortunately, we can still take care of necessities like doctor’s appointments in a secure way. Following the right precautions and considering safer alternatives will ensure you remain safe and healthy during the pandemic.