The news of a COVID-19 vaccine has thrilled the nation. People hope to resume their daily routines within a couple of months without potentially exposing themselves to COVID. This also means you now have to make a tough choice regarding your healthcare.
Will you seek immediate attention for a medical condition or will you wait for COVID to become less severe? Please keep in mind every situation is unique and only a qualified medical professional can make a final assessment. We, at Dr. Smith’s office, would like to provide a few thoughts on this topic from a podiatric perspective.
The first step is to evaluate your pain level. Does the pain interrupt your daily life and normal activities or is it manageable in the short run? Are there alternative treatments to lower the pain? In any case, pain can be a serious indicator of an injury, so please call the office, explain your condition and ask for steps on moving forward. Self-medication often causes more harm than not and a simple phone call may give you the direction you need.
When calling the office, please consider telling us more about your COVID risk level. Patients with asthma, high blood pressure or obesity are more likely to suffer from more serious COVID complications. High-risk patients may be better advised to reschedule follow-up appointments or minor treatments. Knowing risk factors will also help us evaluate the risk of not seeking immediate treatment. Our goal is to weigh the benefits and risks of both actions against each other to come up with the most beneficial solution for you.
The same applies to chronic conditions. Some patients have regular follow-up visits to evaluate progress of their treatment. In some cases, this evaluation may be done over the phone and could save you a trip to our office.
You may experience new symptoms without exactly knowing whether these relate to a chronic condition, a known condition or to a completely new issue. Certain medications also have side effects, so check the label and give us a call with any questions before making an appointment.
This element is often overlooked. Do you live with family who can help you out? Are you living in an assisted care facility with medical capacities? Are you living on your own without any direct support network? We recommend writing down a list of people close to you in case your situation worsens. These individuals may help you make the appropriate decision and call our office for more input. Make sure to communicate problems with loved ones, because a delayed diagnosis may cause non-reversible long-term damage and would outweigh the risk of a potential COVID infection.
Level of Exposure
Ask yourself if you have been exposed to individuals with COVID-19. The best protection for everyone is to wear masks and avoid large gatherings. Watching out for each other reduces exposure for all of us, so please make sure you are not accidentally exposing others when visiting the office.
In general, listen to your body and evaluate your situation with a trusted family member or friend. Keep in mind our office staff is doing everything in our power to keep the office hygienic and safe for you. When in doubt, please give us a call before making an appointment. Be transparent with your situation and ask for advice. We will be able to tell you if it makes more sense to make an immediate appointment or wait until the COVID exposure risk is lower. Your health is our number 1 priority, so please do not hesitate to reach out at any time.