Is it safe to visit a doctor’s office?
So many questions and so many opinions are circling around right now, given these unprecedented times. How important are annual exams during a pandemic? Is it safe to go to a doctor’s office when you keep hearing guidance to use telemedicine when possible? Do you need to worry about possibly contracting COVID-19 while seeking care? What about your child who needs routine vaccines? Is it safe to obtain vaccines, or should you wait?
When it comes to pediatric well-care, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that well-child visits occur in person, whenever possible. They have provided guidelines for pediatricians to follow to ensure a safe environment.
Taking my child for a visit
I recently took my child for a well-child visit and was so worried that I contemplated canceling. When I contacted the doctor’s office, they spent time on the phone with me to answer questions and ultimately made me feel comfortable.
Here are a few things I learned:
- Doctors have modified their schedules into a split day with mornings being reserved for children who are healthy (well-visits only), and afternoons being reserved for children who are sick (sick-visits only).
- Doctors are seeing a limited number of patients to minimize families running into each other.
- The office gets a deep cleaning daily between morning well-visits) and afternoon sick-visits, and an additional cleaning in the evening in preparation for the next day.
- Sign-in sheets have been removed, and patients are advised to call from the car before entering the office. Patients are provided with an exam room number, and upon entry into the office, are brought straight to their exam room.
- Masks are required for everyone in the office.
What about you and your self-care?
For healthcare, the CDC recommends using telemedicine if it’s available or communicating with your doctor by phone or email. Staying in compliance with medications is important, and guidance is also offered by the CDC to limit in-person visits to the pharmacy. Remember to take advantage of your mail-order prescription drug benefits for all maintenance medications! For CDC doctor visit guidance, click here.
Don’t forget about the dentist!
It’s important to remember that oral health is an integral part of overall health. The American Dental Association (ADA) issued recommendations to only offer care for urgent and emergency dental needs, but this expired on April 30 and has not been extended. Check with your provider to learn if the precautions they have in place follow the ADA guidelines.
We have been hearing there is growing evidence to suggest patients may be delaying routine care visits for fear of being infected with COVID-19. This is understandable, and if you are generally healthy, it might make sense to postpone visits. Please consider connecting with your physician’s office or dental office regarding any concerns and minimally keep yourself up to date on medications and any conditions of concern. Taking proper precautions for visits is important. Remember to call your provider to discuss new procedures before you go in.
Authored by Cathy Rodriguez, Burnham Benefits
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