Which health visits should we prioritize?

Have you avoided nonessential health care appointments since the pandemic began? If you’re healthy, postponing preventive and elective visits in the interest of social distancing often makes sense. 

However, for those of us with chronic or preexisting conditions, it can be risky to avoid check-ins. 

Call your doctor if you have specific questions, but for general guidelines, here’s what to keep in mind when considering visits to various providers.

Dentist: Minor sensitivity may not be urgent, but painful conditions like an abscess or broken tooth are. If you’ve started new medications or experienced big health changes, don’t skip dental checkups.

Optometrist: Healthy adults under 40 may be fine skipping an annual eye exam. Don’t put off a visit if you have an eye injury or eye pain, vision loss or changes, or a condition that needs regular treatment.

Physical therapy: Go if your condition will deteriorate or worsen without in-person care. Get treatment by telemedicine when possible.

Chiropractor: For serious pain, an in-person adjustment may be best. Minor stiffness and aches can be dealt with at home.

Preventive care: For healthy adults under 50, a telehealth visit may stand in for your usual checkup. Let your doctor decide if you need to come in.

Cancer screenings: Individuals without elevated cancer risk may decide to postpone screenings such as mammograms, skin checks, colonoscopies, and pap smears. Again, check with your doctor if you have questions.

Vaccinations: The CDC recommends all age groups stay current on all vaccines. 

Emergencies or coronavirus symptoms: Always contact a doctor.

How can you keep yourself and others safe when you do need to go into an office? Ask your providers in advance about new safety requirements for in-person appointments and do your best to comply. 

Do you have questions about your coverage? Reach out anytime.