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7 health care visits you shouldn’t skip, even during COVID-19 While living through a global pandemic, it can be challenging to address various health care needs. But previous virus outbreaks (e.g., SARS) have taught us that waiting too long for routine care can lead to other complications down the line. 1 Here are seven health care priorities you shouldn’t skip, even during a pandemic: 1. Non-COVID Medical Emergencies If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms such as difficulty breathing, prolonged loss of consciousness, chest pain and heaviness, or severe bleeding, call 911 or go to your closest emergency room immediately. 2 2. Chronic Conditions Call your doctor directly to see whether telemedicine can help you receive the care you need from home. 3 If you do need to schedule a face-to-face appointment, call ahead to learn about the safety protocols of your clinic and how best to protect yourself. 3. Routine Vaccinations Officials stress the importance of keeping up with routine vaccinations, particularly the flu vaccine when it’s available in the fall, in case more distancing is required in our areas in the future. 4 4. Prenatal Care For regular prenatal appointments, in-person visits may be less necessary. 5 Certain check-ups may even be conducted outside the doctor’s office, via telemedicine and curbside care appointments. 6 Your clinician may also group screenings and vaccinations together to reduce the number of in-person visits. 7 Harvard Pilgrim is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and what it means for our members and communities. If you are interested in specific information from Harvard Pilgrim regarding COVID-19, please visit HarvardPilgrim.org. 5. Annual Physicals Yearly check-ups are another example of appointments that should not be skipped but can often be conducted via telemedicine. Doing so can help screen for health issues before they arise. Consult with your doctor about setting up this year’s physical. 6. Pharmacy Visits Only 9% of respondents surveyed used a home delivery service for their medications, while 90% visited the pharmacy in person. 7. Mental Health Screening & Counseling If you are feeling anxious, depressed or irritable, you are not alone—help is available. Talk to your primary care doctor for support or call your insurance company to find out which services are available to you. 8 For those who don’t feel comfortable going in person, there are other
options such as drive-up pharmacy windows or mail-order services. Check
with your insurance provider to see what’s covered by your plan.9 If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and for immediate help, call 911. Bottom line: Visiting your doctor may be safer than delaying care, and some appointments cannot—and should not—be avoided. Many doctor’s offices are implementing new protocols to protect patients and providers alike. Talk to your primary care physician about any concerns and to discuss whether an in-person appointment or telemedicine is the better option for you at this time. Sources 1. Brodwin, E. (2020, April 14). With Covid-19 delaying routine care, chronic disease startups brace for a slew of complications. STAT. https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/14/with-covid-19-delaying-routine-care-chronic-disease-startupsbrace-for-a-slew-of-complications/ 2. Should You Go to Urgent Care, Your Doctor, or the ER?: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. (2020, May 01). Retrieved August 10, 2020, from https://www.harvardpilgrim.org/hapiguide/navigating-care-during-covid19-how-to-get-help/ 3. 25 Ways You Can Use Telemedicine: From Checking Symptoms to Seeking Emotional Support. (2020, May 1). Harvard Pilgrim Health Care - HaPi Guide. https://www.harvardpilgrim.org/hapiguide/25-ways-you-can-use-telemedicine-from-checking-symptoms-to-seeking-emotional-support/ 4. Jenco, M. (2020, May 8). AAP urges vaccination as rates drop due to COVID-19. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2020/05/08/covid19vaccinations050820 5. Goligoski, E. (2020, May 1). Prenatal Care May Look Very Different After Coronavirus. https://www.nytimes.Com/#publisher. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/parenting/pregnancy/coronavirus-prenatal-care.html 6. Holohan, M. (2020, April 13). How doctors are creatively adapting prenatal care during COVID-19 crisis. TODAY: NBC Universal. https://www.today.com/parents/how-doctors-aretreating-expecting-moms-during-coronavirus-t1785157. COVID-19 FAQs for Obstetrician-Gynecologists, Obstetrics.(2020). ACOG. https://www.acog.org/clinical-information/physician-faqs/covid-19-faqs-for-ob-gyns-obstetrics 8. Survey: 72% of consumers have changed healthcare use since COVID-19 pandemic. (2020, May 21). FierceHealthcare. https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/hospitals-health-systems/survey-72-consumers-have-changed-healthcare-use-sincecovid-19-pandemic 9. Behavioral Health Care | Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. (2020). Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. https://www.harvardpilgrim.org/ public/behavioral-health-care HarvardPilgrim.org
Sep 08, 2020.
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