When the novel coronavirus hit the US and started spreading like wildfire. Fear was keeping some ill people at home, unwilling to risk a visit to a doctor, especially if the health problem appeared to be mild.
A national survey by Kaiser Family Foundation, found that 54% of obstetrician-gynecologists surveyed had seen a decrease in patient visits since the epidemic hit in March, most of those doctors believed it was due to fewer patients seeking care.
While the survey showed telehealth visits rose in some areas during that same period, many doctors felt it was more difficult to provide “reproductive preventive care and manage chronic gynecological conditions” during the Covid-19 pandemic — and were concerned about the impact on their patients’ health.
“At least six in ten OBGYNs reported being very or somewhat worried about delays in contraceptive care, prenatal care, follow-up care for abnormal pap smears, STI treatment, and obtaining an abortion,” said the survey, which collected responses from early July to the first of September from a nationally representative sample of 855 office-based OB-GYNs.
It’s important that a woman stay up to date with screenings, tests, vaccines and other necessary care, especially if pregnant, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Women should go ahead with these appointments, “with appropriate safety measures in place at the health care office,” the association states.
Before your appointment, ask the doctor’s staff about the precautions they are taking, including masks, social distancing or limiting the number of people at the clinic or office.
“It is important to wear mask, stay at least 6 feet away from other people when possible, and keep your hands clean. Talk with your ob-gyn if you have questions about how to stay safe.
Other precautions include:
- Notice when you touch something, the office pen, a chair and then wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol before or after touching any surfaces in public areas, such as in the waiting area.
- Be especially careful about frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons and touch pads during your visit.
- Keep your hands away from your face, including your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Keep your mask on at all times. If you cough or sneeze, do it into the mask.
- Minimize your time in the office ask if the staff can bill you or use touchless mobile pay options.
- Try to get three-month prescription refills to reduce the need for return visits to the doctor or the pharmacy.
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