Preparing For A Doctor's Appointment During COVID
By now most of us have settled into life during the worldwide COVID 19 pandemic, creating our ‘new normal’. We have become accustomed to socially distancing when visiting with friends, going to the store, or even out to restaurants. However, confirmed case numbers are not necessarily slowing down across the US with new hot spots popping up daily leaving some wondering how much we should really be trying to get back to our daily lives.
For many, there are parts of life that we cannot put on hold, such as important doctors visits and surgeries. However, going to the doctor during these uncertain times can seem scary and overwhelming as we do not want to expose ourselves to the threat of contacting the coronavirus. Luckily, there are ways to keep yourself safe when going to the doctor during COVID-19.
How To Prepare Your A Doctors Appointment During COVID 19
1. Familiarize Yourself With Your Doctor’s Coronavirus Protocols and Policies
Call ahead or visit your doctor’s website to make sure you are aware of their policies before you head to your appointment. Many offices are requiring their patients to wear a kn95 face mask and may also have protocols for patients waiting in the office.
If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, make sure to call the office to let them know as they may request that you reschedule your appointment for the safety of the staff and other patients.
2. Wear Your Face Mask
As we all know by now, one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and others during COVID 19 is to wear a face mask when out in public. However, with so many options for face masks, it can be difficult to know which face mask is right for you. To get a better understanding of which face mask is the best option for you, we need to take a closer look at how effectively each type of mask filters out different sized particles as it correlates to the particle size of different viruses and other potentially hazardous aerosol particles.
When looking at the particle sizes of viruses, the first thing it is important to remember is that a virus never travels alone. It will always be attached to a carrier, such as a respiratory droplet. So although the COVID 19 virus is .125 microns alone, it will typically be closer to 1.125 microns when released from a contaminated source through respiratory droplets.
For this reason, N95 and KN95 masks are wonderful options for protecting yourself against the virus as they protect against particles .3 microns or larger.
3. Sanitize Your Hands
Making sure you are keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take for your health. One average, one person can touch around 140 objects in a single day. That means that there are up to 140 different surfaces for the coronavirus to linger on that you could potentially encounter in a given day. Frequent hand washing or sanitizing, as well as refraining from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, greatly reduces your chance of contracting or spreading the virus.
4. Keep Your Distance
As we mentioned, many doctors' offices are asking their patients to wait in their car or outside of the waiting room, however, it is still important practice to be aware of the distance you keep from others to help reduce your chances of becoming infected or infecting others should you have the virus.
Other Causes For Face Masks This Season
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has been facing other health threats from the seasonal flu and the ongoing wildfires taking place along the west coast, both of which require a face mask for protection.
Face Masks For Smoke
In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, the west coast of the United States has also been facing multiple wildfires producing harmful smoke and forcing many in these communities to evacuate their homes. Inhaling large amounts of smoke from these wildfires can potentially lead to problematic inflammation in the lungs and air pathways, blocking necessary oxygen and leading to respiratory distress or possible failure. Due to this health threat, it is recommended by doctors that those in the areas affected by the fires should wear a face mask when outside to protect themselves from breathing in harmful smoke. One of the most important factors in choosing a mask for preventing smoke inhalation is how close to your face the mask sits on your face. Although it is important to make sure your mask is capable of filtering out hazardous smoke, it is also important to ensure your mask does not allow smoke to seep in around the sides of the mask.
Studies have also shown that areas exposed to smoke for long periods of time have historically experienced a more severe flu season following. When it comes to preventing smoke inhalation, we suggest opting for a N95 or KN95 mask.
Face Masks for Influenza
Flu season is nothing new or scary for many and does not typically require a face mask for protection; however, we may be facing a particularly bad flu season this year.Because many symptoms of the seasonal influenza and COVID 19 overlap, it may be harder to properly determine which illness you may have actually contracted. Additionally, if an individual contracts the coronavirus in combination with a seperate illness, such as the flu, the severity of each can be more severe. One of the simplest and most effective ways to stay healthy this flu season is to continue wearing your face mask along with continuing to practice proper social distancing and hand sanitizing.