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What to Think About Before You Make That Doctor’s Appointment

Gizmodo: “With states across the U.S. beginning to relax distancing restrictions related to covid-19, plenty of people are probably questioning whether they should get back to normal activities, including scheduling non-urgent medical appointments like physicals and teeth cleanings. So let’s talk about it. In truth, any outing that puts you in close contact with other people also puts you at risk of catching the coronavirus, so this is really about weighing the risks and benefits of getting routine medical care. But that ever-present risk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an appointment if you feel you need one. When the pandemic first picked up steam in the U.S. in March, professional medical organizations along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention largely took the same tack: They asked patients and doctors to reschedule medical visits that weren’t urgent, such as annual check-ups and non-emergency procedures. Many doctors’ offices implemented telehealth programs to compensate for these delays. The viral disease has now claimed upwards of 100,000 lives in the U.S. alone. But while some areas of the country are still dealing with worrying trends in new daily cases and hospitalizations, the pandemic as a whole does appear to be slowing down. Some organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, have maintained throughout the pandemic that kids still need some routine medical care that can’t be provided through the phone or internet, particularly their vaccinations.

For easily understandable reasons, though, vaccine-related medical visits took a sharp plunge across the country during March and April, according to data compiled by the CDC. While delaying your child’s vaccinations for a month or two isn’t necessarily catastrophic, it can definitely be a big problem as the country starts to open up. Measles and many vaccine-preventable diseases spread the same way that covid-19 does, and as restrictions on distancing are relaxed, the risk of outbreaks of any disease goes up as well.

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