Are you one of the many people afraid to see a doctor because of Covid-19? Are you feeling confused as to when the benefits of seeking healthcare outweigh the risks of the pandemic? Here are some clear-cut guidelines.

You should physically seek medical care when:

It Is an Emergency

Please immediately call 911 if you are experiencing chest pain, sudden onset of weakness on one side of your body, extreme trauma or bleeding, severe shortness of breath, or any other emergent symptoms that require immediate care and transportation to a medical facility.

Yes, you will come in contact with other people, but they will be protecting you by wearing full PPE. The hospitals are now equipped to separate individuals with Covid symptoms into areas with negative pressure rooms that keep air from circulating throughout the whole hospital. 

There are medical issues that simply cannot wait, and early intervention significantly improves outcomes.

There is something called the Golden Hour when we talk about strokes. This basically refers to the fact that the sooner a person receives medical treatment from the onset of stroke symptoms, the greater the chance of survival. This concept is true for a great many medical emergencies. Time lost is lives lost. 

It Is an Urgent Medical Issue

Please go as soon as possible to an urgent care or emergency room if you may have:

  • broken a bone,
  • a laceration that needs stitches,
  • a foreign body lodged in your eye or other body part,
  • or if you have any other such condition in which waiting will make the condition untreatable or worse.

Yes, it may be that you get to the medical facility and you didn’t have a broken bone or didn’t need anything done after all, and it may feel that you took a risk for nothing. You did not. It is important to be examined, get the necessary x-rays or other such tests done to know if something needs medical attention. That is the only way to get treatment if something is seriously wrong.

Infections must be quickly identified and treated also, or they may progress to a life-threatening stage or sepsis. Urgent cares can treat simple kidney infections, cellulitis, urinary tract infections, or other such infections. 

At this unprecedented time of Covid, we must keep in mind that most urgent care facilities do not have negative pressure rooms and will not let anyone in the building who has a fever or any other Covid symptoms.

So, in these situations, it is best to go to an emergency room. But again, do go and seek medical care for these conditions where delay in care can make a significant difference!

Your Doctor Told You to Go

Telemedicine is widely available since Covid. Call your doctor if you have a medical concern or issue or if it is simply time for your routine visit. Ask if you should be seen in person. Your doctor will tell you if it is in the best interest of your health to leave your home and receive medical care.

Video visits are now being utilized and may be all you need for that routine diabetic checkup. But there are times when a physical exam or testing simply needs to be done. Your doctor will tell you to make an appointment or will order tests. 

It is unnerving to venture out into the world during a pandemic to get treatments or have diagnostic tests done. But there are times when it is simply more advantageous to your health to do so. Dialysis and infusions are examples where benefit outweighs risk.

Yes, originally in March, it made sense to postpone that mammogram or colonoscopy or routine blood test, but a problem could have worsened or developed since then. You do not have to make that decision. Ask your doctor. Follow that advice.

Are you afraid to visit your doctor or go to the hospital? Have you had to? Do you think telemedicine is good enough or do you prefer in-person visits? Please share your worries and experiences with our community.

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