5 Tips for Visiting the Doctors Office During COVID
While the COVID pandemic continues to force all of us to make changes in our daily lives, one thing that some people can’t control is going to the doctor.
Most states across the United States, have slowly been reopening after shutting down earlier this year, but does that mean it’s safe to go the doctor’s office?
In most cases, yes, it is safe to visit your doctor during the COVID pandemic. Most offices have been taking strict precautions when it comes to seeing patients, and depending on the type of doctor you’re seeing, they’ve probably been limiting patients that show any symptoms related to COVID. But even with those precautions in place, some people may not feel comfortable visiting the doctor’s office.
If you believe you may have COVID, or might have been exposed to someone who has COVID, then you shouldn’t go anywhere outside your home. This includes your doctor’s office. The first thing you should do is talk to your doctor via phone or video appointment, explain what is going on, what your symptoms are, or why you feel you may have been exposed. Your doctor may then advise you to seek out a local testing location to get tested for the virus. Then, you must quarantine at home until you receive the test results or for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
This means you do not leave the house at all. If other people live in your home with you, you should try to isolate yourself as best as possible from them as well.
Most medical practices will turn you away if you exhibit any signs of COVID, so it’s best to just call your doctor or setup a telehealth call.
If you are having trouble breathing, or your symptoms get worse, then you should seek care at the hospital emergency room.
When it comes to visiting your doctor at this time, you’re most likely going to be ok. Your primary care physician’s office may be a little bit riskier, since they are seeing more patients, for a wider variety of reasons, than say a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist.
When it comes to dermatologists, plastic surgeons and offices like our own, we are not seeing sick patients. For the most part, our services are elective or cosmetic. This makes our offices a bit safer when it comes to visiting, since we don’t have patients who are suffering from a disease.
But even though that might be the case for cosmetic surgeons and other specialty doctors, you should still do what you can to make sure you are protected from any possible exposure to COVID.
What To Do When Visiting a Doctor’s Office During COVID
1. If You Are Feeling Sick, Stay Home
The only way that things are going to get better is if the sick people stay home while recovering (if possible). We understand that not everything is known about this disease and that it’s possible for people to be asymptomatic and still spread it to other people. But if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID, it’s important that you stay home.
If possible, setup a video call with your doctor instead. As long you don’t require an actual procedure, tests, or vaccines, most of the time a doctor will be able to advise and diagnose you through a video call.
Please do not lie about your symptoms if you visit any office. It puts other patients and our staff at risk.
2. Wear a Mask
Hopefully this is obvious to most people by now but wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of germs when indoors. Wearing a mask helps prevent moisture droplets from spraying out of your mouth and nose when you talk, sneeze, or cough. They can also help prevent moisture droplets from entering your mouth and nose if someone else sneezes or coughs.
And while some people continue to argue the effectiveness of masks at preventing the spread of COVID, most doctor’s offices require them in the event that you may be asymptomatic and not even realize you are infected or contagious.
Wearing a mask not only protects you, but it protects the other patients and the staff at the offices. So please wear a mask if you need to visit your doctor.
3. Social Distancing and Proper Hygiene
When arriving at the doctor’s office, if you must wait inside in the waiting room, practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet between you and the other patients waiting. This will help prevent moisture droplets from other patients ending up in your vicinity.
If you want to be as safe as possible, ask your doctor’s office if they offer curbside check-in. Curbside check-in allows you to call the office when you arrive to the parking lot and stay in your car until it is your turn to be seen. Once it is your turn to see the doctor, the office manager will notify you and usher you straight to an exam room without having to wait inside with other patients.
Also be sure to practice proper hygiene when visiting the doctor. Wash your hands frequently before and after your visit, if possible, or use hand sanitizer at the office, before and after. Try to touch the least number of things in the office as possible, including your own face.
4. Be Prepared to Answer Questions and Have Your Temperature Taken
Most doctor’s offices these days will ask you a list of questions when you arrive to ensure that you’re as healthy as can be. Do not lie about these questions. As we said in #1, if you’re not feeling well you shouldn’t be leaving the house. The most common types of questions you will be asked when entering the building are related to your symptoms and whether or not you’ve been in contact with anyone that has tested positive for COVID or may have been exposed. Some offices will also take your temperature, just to make sure you’re not running a fever.
Even if you’re not the patient, be prepared to answer these questions. And do so truthfully.
5. Visit Alone if Possible
We understand that it’s not always possible to visit your doctor’s office alone. Patients receiving treatment that requires sedation, younger and older patients, or those that just can’t drive themselves, will require assistance in reaching their appointments.
If you don’t require assistance, it would be best if you visited the office alone. By doing so you’re limiting the number of people in the waiting room, which can help with social distancing. And you’re also limiting the number of germs potentially introduced to the office.
What Are Doctor’s Offices Doing to Help Curb the Spread of COVID?
In addition to asking our patients to do what they can in order to help prevent the spread of COVID, doctor’s offices have also implemented a number of procedures to help ensure that our patients and staff remain safe and healthy.
Multiple cleaning of all touch points within the office throughout the day, masks worn by all staff at all times, daily temperature checks and proper hand washing and hygiene are among a few of the things that our office is doing on a regular basis to help maintain a safe and welcoming environment for our patients.
Through telemedicine, we offer virtual consultations and video follow up appointments for those that would rather not come into our offices at this time.
At the Limmer Hair Care Center we’re doing everything we can to make sure that our offices remain clean and safe for all of our patients and our staff.
Many of our patients find that their working from home routine has allowed them extra freedom to finally get their hair back while recovering out of the public eye. We are currently taking appointments for hair transplant procedures and consultations, so please contact us today to see how we can help!