It’s typically not a good idea to put off getting medical care if you feel that something isn’t right. Yet, during the time of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are avoiding getting the attention they need.
This may be for a number of reasons, including fear of getting the virus or guilt for taking up medical attention over others who are in need.
In this article, we’re breaking down exactly when you should seek treatment for a medical condition, including the symptoms you should be watching for.
Every minute matters
There are a number of time-sensitive conditions such as heart attack, stroke and appendicitis that require immediate medical treatment. Since March 2020, however, there’s been a dip in the number of patients who are seeking care for conditions like these.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Heart attack
It’s critical that you get treated as soon as possible if you believe you’re suffering from a heart attack. Each minute that the attack goes untreated, it’s possible for more of your heart muscle to become damaged.
If the extent of the damage is severe enough, you could develop heart arrhythmia, heart failure or even death. Your chance of survival is significantly better if you’re able to identify the symptoms, get to an emergency room and receive care from a cath lab as quickly as possible.
With a stroke, your brain is on the line. During a stroke, you are at a greater risk for disability, brain damage or even death with every passing minute. In fact, every minute you’re having a stroke, several million brain cells die.
Seeking medical attention as soon as possible will reduce your risk of severe damage, and in some cases (with ischemic strokes), you can even receive a clot busting drug called tPA up to a certain point.
Another very time-sensitive condition is appendicitis. When you’re experiencing appendicitis, you become at risk of an appendix rupture after 24 to 48 hours, so time is of the essence. When a rupture occurs, the infection inside your appendix spills into your abdomen, which can result in death.
If you experience any symptoms of appendicitis, including pain in your abdomen, nausea or vomiting, swelling in your abdomen, loss of appetite, inability to pass gas or a low-grade fever, it’s critical that you get care as soon as possible.
When should you go to the emergency room for care?
Just because hospitals are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic does not mean you should avoid them. All hospitals should have protocols in place to keep you safe from the virus. If you would go to the emergency room before COVID-19 hit, you should still go now.
If you’re experiencing any of the following injuries or symptoms, you should get emergency care immediately:
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe abdominal pain
- Chest pain or other signs of a heart attack
- One-sided weakness or numbness or other signs of a stroke
- Open fracture
- Pain or bleeding that is uncontrollable
- Head injury, loss of consciousness or other major injury or trauma
Attend your routine appointments
It’s important that you don’t skip your regular appointments just because of COVID-19. In fact, it may be more important than ever to get checked routinely to make sure your immune system and vitals are working well. If you are a high-risk patient or someone who may be managing a chronic condition or disease, this is even more important.
One of the best ways to maintain your health during the pandemic is to discuss ways to stay healthy with your provider, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As always, do your best to stay current on your vaccinations, specifically your flu and pneumococcal vaccines. This is especially important for anyone who’s considered high risk.
Your provider may also be able to recommend some preventative services (for example, cancer screenings) that can keep you from getting sick with either COVID-19 or another illness. There’s never been a better time to prioritize your health, and staying active, eating right and managing your stress levels are three ways you can do so.
If you suffer from an underlying medication condition, you should continue to follow the treatment plan your provider has provided. This includes any medication that’s been prescribed. To be safe, try to get a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines to keep at home. As always, if you have concerns about your existing condition, contact your healthcare provider.
How CareNow® is protecting our patients
At CareNow®, your health is our priority, which is why we’ve taken a number of precautions to protect you even further.
These enhanced safety protections include:
- Minimizing Unessential Traffic
This means only one essential companion is allowed to accompany a patient to their appointment in an effort to limit the overall traffic in our clinics.
- Adding New Sanitation Efforts
Our waiting rooms, exam rooms, and other care areas are regularly cleaned and sanitized in accordance with the CDC recommendations. You will also notice commonly shared items like magazines and toys have been removed from our facilities.
- Screening Patients and Visitors
Each patient that enters our clinic is thoroughly screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors before their appointment. If their screen is positive, the patient will be given a mask to wear during their appointment.
- Enforcing Social Distancing
We make sure anyone inside our clinics practices social distancing. We provide additional space between seats in waiting areas and are providing separate entrances for patients.
CareNow® has long offered Web Check-In® for convenience purposes; however, it serves a much bigger purpose in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. Before your appointment, call and check in from your care to avoid unnecessary waiting time inside.
Whether you need a routine checkup or are in need of more urgent medical care, consider visiting your local CareNow®.
Each of our locations is practicing enhanced safety protections to keep you and your loved ones safe. And with more than 100 locations throughout the United States, there’s bound to be a location near you.
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.