You don’t have to neglect your health during the pandemic.
It’s true that the best way to keep you and others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is to stay home and limit contact with others. When enough people do this, the coronavirus has fewer opportunities to jump from one person to another. That said, it is possible to safely visit your doctor during COVID-19.
The Importance of Medical Visits
Just like buying groceries, visiting your doctor and maintaining your health is an essential activity. If you come down with a simple infection, it could worsen and become serious without treatment. Similarly, if you’re having trouble managing a chronic condition, delaying an appointment could lead to medical emergencies.
In other words, don’t neglect your overall health during the pandemic. Your doctors still want to see you for non-COVID-19 concerns.
How to Visit Your Doctor Safely During COVID-19
Luckily, it’s possible to check in with your doctor safely. This involves alternative methods of seeing your doctor, as well as common-sense precautions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
1. Use telemedicine when possible
Telemedicine refers to having healthcare appointments via video chat or phone. Many healthcare facilities have added telemedicine as an option during the pandemic, so you may be able to meet with your doctor this way. Your doctor can even refill your prescriptions via telemedicine. Learn more about whether telemedicine is the right option for you.
2. Follow social distancing guidelines
Planning an in-person visit? Follow social distancing guidelines. Stay at least 6 feet away from others in the waiting room or in lines. Often, you may see decals or tape on the floor to show where you should stand.
3. Wear a mask
Masks reduce the emission of respiratory droplets from your mouth and nose, which may carry coronavirus germs. Many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic but still contagious, so wearing a mask is a safety measure to make sure nobody is accidentally spreading the virus. Just make sure you wear it over your mouth and nose. (Here are other common mask-wearing mistakes to avoid.)
4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
Your hands may have picked up coronavirus germs from surfaces. If you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with contaminated hands, this may allow the virus to get into your body. Notably, surfaces are a less common method of COVID-19 infection; most infections appear to be airborne. However, it’s still possible to get COVID-19 this way, so it’s a good habit to avoid touching your face.
5. Use touchless payment options when possible
To avoid touching surfaces, use touchless payment options if your doctor has them. You might even be able to pay online prior to the appointment.
If touchless options aren’t available, make sure to wash your hands after paying with card or cash. If you’re unable to access a sink and soap, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Learn more about when and how to use hand sanitizer properly here.
6. Ask your doctor about larger prescription supplies or mail order prescriptions
If you can get a larger supply, you can visit the pharmacy less often. This will help avoid some trips out of your house. Rules regarding prescription amounts or mail order prescriptions may vary depending on the medicine and your insurance.
Moral of the story? There may be risks to visiting public places during COVID-19, but in this case, the benefits of staying on top of your health may be worth it.