Risks of Deferring Healthcare During a Pandemic

Afraid to go to the doctor or get your blood drawn because you might get exposed to COVID?  Two things I want you to consider:

  1.  Medical facilities can be some of the lowest risk places to visit during the pandemic due to strict sterilization, social distancing and mask wearing practices.  We cannot afford not to. 
  2. Delaying healthcare can have serious consequences in the future.
  • Nearly half of the public says they skipped or postponed medical care because of the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • Cardiologists have seen a resurgence in severe cardiac complications and damage during the pandemic that occur when a heart attack goes untreated.  These complications were common in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but we’ve not seen them in decades.
  • The National Cancer Institute predicts an excess of 10,000 deaths due to breast cancer and colorectal cancer because of missed screening in the year 2020.
  • You may get sicker with COVID-19 if your chronic medical problems (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure) are not well controlled.
  • Waiting to get care until you are really sick makes hospitalization more likely.  And right now hospital staff are stretched very thin, and your hospital care may suffer.
  • When COVID is finally under control, everyone who delayed care will return to their doctor, but they may have trouble getting an appointment because of pend up demand.

Activities for a Stay at Home Order

Given the new lockdown orders in California, we need to get creative again to stay connected and engaged. Here are some of my favorites from a great article

Check out this article for more options.  Which are your favorite?

ABC’s of Telemedicine

Telemedicine is basically a video visit with your doctor and has many benefits. 

  • More personalized than a phone call
  • Less time away from work
  • No travel expenses or time
  • Less interference with child or elder care responsibilities
  • No exposure to other potentially contagious patients

My Electronic Health Record system uses an encrypted version of Zoom so your privacy is protected.  Many conditions are easily treated via video visits:

  • follow up on chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, gout and high cholesterol.
  • Minor acute issues like upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections or pink eye. 

Some issues, however, are not able to be addressed with telemedicine like chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, deep cuts or possible fractures.

Please call the office today to schedule a telemedicine visit.  An email with a link is automatically sent when the appointment is scheduled.  When it’s time for your appointment just click the link.  If you can’t find the original email, another one will be sent automatically about 5 minutes prior to the appointment.  You can use a desktop or laptop computer, a smart phone, iPad or other tablet.  If you are unable to connect at the time of your appointment, I’ll call and we’ll get it set up.  No worries!

Rapid Flu Testing Now Available

Unfortunately, cold symptoms, flu symptoms and COVID symptoms can be very similar, so its difficult to tell them apart sometimes.  That’s why I now have rapid testing for influenza (in addition to rapid COVID testing) available in my office.  This is the same standard test that has been done in Urgent Care and the Emergency Room for years.  It tests for both strains of influenza – A and B.  Rapid early diagnosis is important with Flu because treatment is most effective if started within the first 48 hours.  So if you’re sick, please call for a same day appointment so we can get you the right diagnosis and treatment.

More info from CDC https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/updated/fluandyou_upright.pdf

You might want a test if:

  • You have fever, chills and body aches
  • You’ve been exposed to someone who is positive for Influenza
  • You feel sick

Cost $50

Combo with COVID $150

Rapid COVID Testing Now Available

I now have the BD Veritor Plus testing system for COVID-19.  It tests for COVID-19 antigen with a nasal swab (not the one that tickles your brain).  Results are ready in about 15 min.  Sensitivity is 98% – meaning a negative result is correct 98% of the time, although false negative tests can occur 2% of the time.  Specificity is >99% – meaning a positive result is correct >99% of the time.  False positive results are exceptionally rare.

Click here for additional information about this test.

You might want a test if:

  • You got notice of exposure to someone positive for COVID-19
  • You’re thinking about going to visit someone
  • You feel sick

Cost: $125

Combo with Flu $150