General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

During the COVID-19 pandemic, is it safe to go to the doctor (General Practicioner) for a regular check-up?

Asked by Yellowdog (10600points) 2 months ago

I am a diabetic, with other complications (high cholesterol, High blood pressure) who did not get a good report as far as diabetes goes about six weeks ago. Furthermore, I have been away from home the past eight or nine days helping with Tornado recovery efforts in Nashville.

I have a follow-up doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. To be honest, I am afraid to go—I know doctors are taking all precautions, but I still think a doctor’s office is one of the worst places to be if one is not sick.

I have two elderly, vulnerable parents who are extremely susceptible—my father has a compromised immune system due to chemotherapy—both my parents are in their eighties with mobility problems and rely on me. Contracting the virus would be deadly to them.

My girlfriend, whom I share an apartment with, probably doesn’t have much of an immune system either since she never gets out and has stayed in the apartment for the past month.

How safe is going to a general practitioner who normally treats the sick, if you are only going in for a check-up? Should I cancel and reschedule?

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19 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Call ahead and tell your problem. Also if your jurisdiction has a phone line for nurse’s then call that number. For me it is 811. 24/7 nurse’s question free phone.

rebbel's avatar

Maybe they have a website, on which they have announced their Corona regulations?
My doctor’s office stated on theirs that all appointments, until (at least) the 6th of April, are canceled, or are to be rescheduled.
My Wednesday appointment has been turned into a telephone appointment.

Maybe that’ll work for you too?

Jeruba's avatar

Good ideas, @rebbel. And GQ, @Yellowdog. (By the way, do you have a yellow dog?)

I have a regular quarterly PCP appointment coming up in April, and I’m just assuming it’s going to be canceled. Also trying to do labs beforehand might be both super challenging and super risky. Lying low seems like the best bet whenever possible.

But taking advice from your own doctor sounds like the wisest course to me.

SEKA's avatar

Most of the doctors here are cancelling all their office appointments even for those with the virus. Some are still doing consultations by phone or via webcam on computers. I suggest calling the office and ask them what it is they need you to do. I’m sure that they will have some qualifying Q’s before giving you further instructions. I don’t think that you’ll need to cancel as I feel pretty confident that they have already done that for you

Jeruba's avatar

What area are you in, @SEKA? Where’s “here”?

> I don’t think that you’ll need to cancel as I feel pretty confident that they have already done that for you

They shouldn’t cancel anyone’s appointment without letting them know, right? It wouldn’t make sense to let them show up and then tell them.

anniereborn's avatar

I don’t think anyone can tell you with much certainty. But If I were in your shoes, no way would I go. Just a check up? No way. And you are in a vulnerable group who also helps vulnerable people.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’d suggest calling your doctor’s office (they’ll have some information posted or someone on staff to respond to phone calls) if you’re that unsure. But if it were me, for just a routine check-up, I wouldn’t take the risk even if the drs. office was open for patients (it’s probably not).

Right now. I’d only go anywhere medical if it were an emergency.

Jeruba's avatar

^^ Agreed. And so—please be extra careful with ordinary stuff so you don’t stumble, fall, break or sprain anything, cut or burn yourself, etc. This is not when you want to make a dash to the ER or the urgent care clinic with something fractured, twisted, or bleeding.

Do not climb on anything if you don’t have to. Just don’t.

And if your blood glucose numbers were too high last time, I’m guessing you know what to do.

JLeslie's avatar

All doctors are supposed to be cancelling regular check-ups that can be put off. I would never go to a GP office right now, unless it was my only choice and I was in a dire straight. Sick people go to the GP. The doctors and nurses who seem to be coming down with COVID19, many were internists and GP’s who a month ago were not taking precautions yet. From what I understand they took more risks than hospital workers in the ICU’s treating patients. I don’t know if that was in every city, but I heard an ICU doctor in a COVID19 hospital in NY mention it. Mind you so far the NY ICU he worked at had adequate safety wear, but I am just saying GP’s tend to do nothing. I remember once going for a follow up and my GP was sick with a cold. I was pissed.

kritiper's avatar

Call your doctor and ask them.

Caravanfan's avatar

Many doctors are doing phone or Zoom visits nowadays

LadyMarissa's avatar

I live in North Georgia & they have been reporting on our news for atleast 2 weeks that all doctor appointments are being cancelled & to NOT just walk into any doctor’s office expecting to be seen. Everybody must call first & they will be instructed what to do next. We’re also NOT supposed to walk into the ER or Urgent Care offices. They say it is for our own protection as what we have might not be as bad as what we’d be opening ourselves up to. I’ve heard rumors that even 911 isn’t going out without a doctor’s order. I haven’t called to verify that one. I’m just praying that I don’t get sick during all of this & that by the time I need help, everything will be back to normal!!!

I don’t think your doctor is wanting to risk your life nor your parents lives anymore than you are, so I suggest that you call the office for further instructions.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’d check and see if you can call in the test results you get with your glucometer at home so they can adjust your medication over the phone.

si3tech's avatar

IMHO I would put off NON essential visits to a doctor.

Caravanfan's avatar

FWIW I have an appointment with one my doctors tomorrow and we are doing video chat.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh my gosh. I just realized maybe my endocrinologist back in Memphis can now do video with me. A silver lining.

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, interesting thought! Long-distance visits with practitioners out of the area. It’s been tried, of course, but hasn’t caught on. If it does, that could really change the look of medicine.

But will we all need BP devices, stethoscopes, and O2 meters?

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I contacted my endocrinologist and I can do it. At least for now anyway. It doesn’t completely replace a doctor examining your thyroid, although, it’s more accurate to do an ultrasound anyway.

She doesn’t listen to my heart or lungs. I don’t undress for a visit with her. I think it depends on the needs of the patient and the specialty whether it’s prudent or not. I do think video is better than a telephone call for endocrinologists. Some specialties or medical situations it might not be necessary.

raum's avatar

Telehealth for routine appts.

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