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05/29/20   |   By

Visiting the Doctor During a Pandemic: Steps to Take to Avoid Nosocomial Illness

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While recent stay-at-home orders have limited our ability to seek elective surgeries and other treatments deemed non-essential, it’s not always possible to avoid the doctor or the emergency room. A variety of health issues persist in a time of coronavirus — and many cannot be properly treated via videoconferencing apps.

Unfortunately, the spread of coronavirus dramatically increases the vulnerability of patients suffering unrelated health issues. This is particularly alarming in facilities that continue to face shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essentials. However, while every appointment carries an element of risk, a few simple steps can shield you from the greatest hazards.

Opt For Virtual or Home Health Visits When Possible

Is your current health condition urgent? Consider taking advantage of the many available alternatives to standard care. Telehealth solutions, for example, allow you to seek feedback and even prescriptions for a variety of common concerns. Many health care providers also offer home visits, in which a nurse or doctor stops by your place of residence. This limits your potential for exposure to infected individuals.

Call to confirm in-person visits, even if you feel confident that your current health concerns warrant a visit to your local clinic. You may be surprised to discover that other options are available.

Continue to Practice Tried-And-True Methods of Disease Prevention

At this point, you’ve surely tired of hearing reminders of the need for masks, hand-washing, and social distancing. These essentials bear repeating, however, as they can provide a significant degree of protection in medical settings. Such preventative efforts are especially critical as you spend time in the waiting room. Keep an eye on health care staff to ensure that they also abide by proper protocol.

If you spot negligence in a health care facility, don’t be afraid to speak up.

Regan Zambri Long
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Patient Safety
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