Going to The Doctor During COVID-19

Many people have stopped going to the doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is concern that some are ignoring signs of co-morbid conditions of hepatitis C. Staying in touch with your health provider is more important than ever. Even though things may be changing over the next several months, our need for medical care has not changed. Let's talk about ways you can safely stay in touch and get all your procedures done.

Telemedicine

Many doctors are staying in touch with patients using phone apps and video calls. It may take a little bit of time to get used to, but most patients and doctors have found it to be helpful, and even fun. One patient laughed because she had her dog in her lap, and her doctor got to meet her “baby”, who was her caregiver.

Tests

The regular blood labs are still very important. If your doctor is looking at your viral load during treatment, they can offer a safe way for you to keep your appointment. Your liver enzymes and CBC are also useful ways for your doctor to track your liver health.

Liver tests

If you’re scheduled for a Fibroscan or liver biopsy, it may have been postponed. Stay in touch with your doctor so that you can continue being monitored. As soon as your local medical facility is open, make an appointment.

Hep C treatment

If you are beginning treatment, it's easy to stay in touch with your medical provider by phone. While you may not have any side effects, it's still a good idea to talk about how you're feeling. If something urgent comes up, let your health team know.

Fears about COVID-19

You may wonder how safe it is to go to the doctor during COVID-19. Well, let me assure you that no one is more concerned than your doctor and the clinic or hospital staff. Medical professionals have been working hard to put together procedures that will allow everyone to get the best possible care in a safe environment.

Steps to take

Call your health provider if you need an appointment or are rescheduling one that was postponed. Find out if you need to be seen in person, or whether you could visit with your doctor or health practitioner via telemedicine.

More on this topic

If you are going in for a visit, ask what facility you will attend. For example, if it is urgent, you may be asked to go to the emergency room. Your doctor can easily call ahead and describe your symptoms.

If you’re going to an office visit, find out what policy they have in place. You may wait in your car until it is your turn. Many offices are already doing this, and call when the doctor is ready for you. Some clinics ask family members to drop you at the door and wait outside.

If you’re having an endoscopy or other tests, there are policies in place to protect you. This includes regular and thorough disinfection, and wearing personal protective equipment.

Each city, and every facility, is providing ways of going to the doctor during COVID-19. Remember, your liver health is extremely important, and your medical staff want you to be safe at home, and also keep all of your appointments to see them.

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