Symptoms like pressure, squeezing, or pain in your chest, which can be signs of a heart attack, are a fast pass to the emergency room -- pandemic or not. These symptoms are also worthy of a visit to the ER:
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
- Sudden numbness
- Loss of vision
All are signs you could be having a stroke and need medical attention right away.
Don't try to ride out pain that could be a broken bone because you're afraid of COVID-19. Trauma, heavy bleeding, a high fever, trouble breathing, and severe allergic reactions are all reasons to see a doctor in person.
Prenatal care is important as your baby grows and develops, so don't skip the OB/GYN visits. But you could be able to cover some routine appointments through virtual visits. Your clinic may offer curbside checks for certain tests and vaccinations, too.
Times of stress (like a global pandemic) can make mental health issues worse. Fortunately, you can do many forms of therapy via video or phone, so you don't have to miss out on your emotional wellness care.
Chronic Disease Care
If you're living with a lifelong illness, you're at higher risk for COVID-19. It's crucial to maintain your health care routine. Ask your doctor how they're keeping their office safe for patients and what you can do to keep your risk as low as possible during your visits.
Your Yearly Physical
You know the saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Annual physicals are a way for doctors to keep an eye on you so they can see trends and make changes when needed. You may only have to see your doctor in person for bloodwork if they can do the rest through telemedicine.
Social distancing means you're farther from other people's germs, but you still need a flu shot, along with other routine vaccines like shingles or measles. Skipping these vaccines could mean a rise in preventable diseases down the line.
Get care right away for emergencies like broken teeth, jaw trauma, bleeding that won't stop, or swelling and infection in your gums or the soft tissue of your mouth. Many dentists are making emergency care a top concern to make sure people don't fill emergency rooms with mouth issues that could be handled in the office. Talk to them about getting back to regular preventive care if it's been a year or longer since your last checkup.
Catching cancer in its early stages can make a huge difference in how well treatments work. Screenings like mammograms, Pap smears, and colonoscopies have to happen in-office. Ask your doctor if you might be able to choose a no-contact option for the screening, like a telemedicine appointment for skin cancer checks
Kids need regular doctor visits to be sure they're growing and developing well. Pediatricians can prevent illness with a vaccine schedule, make sure your child is meeting certain milestones, and answer questions you have about their social, emotional, and physical health.
IMAGES PROVIDED BY:
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Don't Avoid Your Doctor During the Coronavirus Pandemic."
- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care: "7 Medical Visits You Shouldn't Skip, Even During COVID-19."
- OSF Healthcare: "Should you postpone your routine health appointments?"
- News release, American Dental Association.
- Mayo Clinic: "Routine cancer screening during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic."
- American Academy of Pediatrics: "AAP Schedule of Well-Child Care Visits."