Is it safe to go to the doctor or ER?
Around the country, non-COVID related visits to the ER or doctor have declined. Here in Texas, I’ve heard many doctors urging people to continue with their regular screenings and check-ups. I’ve had to go to the doctor a few times and also have taken my kiddos in for a check-up. Here’s what I found – healthcare facilities (doctor offices, ER rooms, hospitals) are some of the safest places in terms of COVID-19 – because of the vast precautions. In other words, most know what they are doing to protect people. And, are doing a good job in precautionary measures of masking, isolation rooms, and strict COVID-19 screening. (These statements are “in general”. Before you go to the doctor, look to see if they have good COVID-19 measures in place.)
𝐋𝐞𝐭’𝐬 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐫 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬: I want to highlight one aspect of health that is really important to watch – and, I think every family is affected by cancer is some way. Early on the pandemic, preventive cancer screenings declined dramatically due to closures and shut-downs of facilities. Although screenings have recently begun to rise, they have not reached “normal” levels seen in previous years.
-In total, between March 15 and June 16, 285,000 (breast), 95,000 (colon), and 40,000 (cervical) exams were missed, which represent deficits of 63%, 64%, and 67% relative to the number of screenings from previous years.
-As of June 16th, screenings were still 29%, 36%, and 35% lower than pre-COVID-19 levels for breast, colon, and cervical cancer screenings.
-For many types of cancer, early detection is key for a better prognosis.
𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞: If we need to go to the doctor, ER, or screening visit, doctors are encouraging us to go. I hear that encouragement (and sometimes pleading) from our local ER and family physicians every week in our COVID-19 county meetings. Wear your mask. Get your screenings.
I’m also posting the American Cancer Society’s website with common questions regarding COVID-19 and cancer. Some cancer patients are at a higher risk of COVID-19 complications or severe illness due to a weakened immune system. The website gives some good tips on how to protect yourself or family member with cancer.
-Friendly neighbor epidemiologist