Are you wondering if it's time to schedule those doctor appointments you've been putting off? Restrictions related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are easing in many places, but you may still have concerns about COVID-19. Learn how to stay safe from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) while getting the care you need.
Before you make an appointment, call the clinic or check its website to find out what's being done to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check for information about:
Shortly before the day of your appointment, you may get a call from someone at the clinic asking if you have symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have symptoms, you may be given specific instructions.
Clinic staff may tell you to bring and wear a mask. Some clinics may also ask that you bring only one person with you to your appointment.
Ask questions you may have about safety procedures. For example, you may want to ask if the clinic can send your bill electronically or by mail. These may be good options so you don't have to worry about picking up germs when you check out at the clinic.
Remember to follow these standard precautions when you're at the clinic, such as:
Aim to keep social distance, or about 6 feet (2 meters) away from others while at the clinic, including when you're in line and in the waiting area. Some clinics have signs or markings on the floor to help visitors maintain physical distancing (social distancing). If an area looks crowded, move to another part of the clinic.
Try to avoid contact with frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons and touchpads. While they're cleaned regularly, there's still the chance they have germs on them. Wear gloves or use a tissue to open doors and press elevator buttons. If you need to use a touchpad or touch a commonly used surface, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer afterward.
When it's time to check out, opt for touchless payment if possible, such as a mobile payment system. If that's not an option, use credit cards, cash or checks, and then use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. When you get home, wash your hands well with soap and water.
Ask your doctor about telemedicine appointment options, such as a video consult. It can be an effective way for you to follow-up with your doctor from home. Or you may be able to have a telemedicine appointment instead of an in-person visit. You also may be able to have a phone consult with your doctor. Ask your doctor if you can send secure messages or emails with questions.
If you have a new prescription or need to refill existing ones, consider mail order. Check with your doctor about getting larger supplies of your prescriptions that last longer and require fewer pharmacy visits. If you need to get a prescription locally, call ahead or order online. Ask if delivery is an option or whether the pharmacy has drive-through or curbside pickup options.
Although it's natural to have concerns about receiving care during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's possible to visit your doctor and be safe.
See how Mayo Clinic is providing safe in-person and virtual care.
This article is written by Mayo Clinic Staff. For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.