As the number of COVID-19 cases grow across the state and stay-at-home
orders remain in place, many of us are questioning which trips outside
of the house are absolutely essential, and that may include an upcoming
doctor’s appointment. So how important is that doctor’s appointment
scheduled for later this month?
It’s important to look at the reason for your visit. If it’s
just a routine visit and not for anything urgent, call your doctor and
ask if it’s OK to reschedule the appointment to a later date or
if a telehealth visit is an option. Telehealth is a great way to connect
physicians with their patients. Over the last few weeks, telehealth has
taken off across health systems to help evaluate whether a patient needs
to be tested for COVID-19 and to reduce the number of people coming into
waiting rooms and into contact with one another.
Those who are elderly, undergoing cancer treatment, or who have other health
issues (especially immune issues) are at a greater risk for COVID-19-related
complications. If you are in one of these higher risk groups, touch base
with your healthcare providers to make an individualized plan for continuing
treatment before canceling any appointments. Your physician may decide
that telehealth visits are a safer option for you.
For prescription refills, talk to your doctor about refilling medication
for an additional month until it is safer to come in. This can usually
be done through the patient portal or by asking your provider’s
office to send it electronically to your pharmacy.
As always, if you do begin to feel under-the-weather, give your doctor
a call. Based on your health and symptoms, your provider will help you
determine whether to come in or not.
And if you start to develop symptoms of COVID-19, like fever, dry cough,
or shortness of breath, be sure to call your doctor immediately. Don’t
just show up at their office, an urgent care center, or emergency room.
Since COVID-19 symptoms are often like those of the common cold or flu,
your doctor will want to learn as much as possible in advance in order
to determine how to best handle your case.