2020 has changed the way we behave, function, and live. From working at homes to wearing masks while going out, every facet of our lives has been severely affected by the Novel Coronavirus. One aspect of our life that has taken a backseat is preventative care and routine medical checkups.
People are terrified of moving out of their homes and going to a clinic for a routine checkup seems like too much of a risk. Indians are skipping out on medical checkups and physical screenings. Many patients have even rescheduled elective surgeries to avoid infections.
Additionally, several hospitals have scaled-back their operations due to physical distancing measures and nation-wide lockdown. The entire situation has made it difficult for patients to get access to proactive cancer screenings tests. When it comes to cancer, a month's delay can prove to be fatal and severely affect the chances of recovery.
For example, the symptoms of stomach cancer include poor appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, heartburn, vomiting, etc. if you ignore these signs and consider them a general digestive issue, it can quickly deteriorate your condition. Early detection is the key in many cases of stomach cancer as well as other GI cancers.
If you consider other acute abdominal conditions such as gallbladder stones, delaying the treatment can lead to the spread of infection and more suffering for the patient. This situation is not limited to diseases of the gastrointestinal tract but other conditions as well.
Doctors are witnessing a disturbing trend where the death rate is rising in treatable conditions, only because patients are avoiding timely medical checkups. A higher number of patients are getting admitted because they are evading initial symptoms out of fear of Novel Coronavirus.
Patients with potentially curable diseases can benefit a lot from early detection and immediate medical treatment. It is also essential for patients to be treated for palliative care. So, should you miss out on routine checkups and medical screenings during the pandemic?
You should visit your doctor for checkups but with precaution. Visiting any medical facility without safety precautions can make you susceptible to infections and affect your health, especially if you are above 60 years of age. Extra care should also be taken for pregnant women and young children. Here are a few tips to ensure that your health is not ignored during the pandemic.
Telemedicine is the New Normal
As a race, we are nothing if not resilient. As soon as the effects of Coronavirus started affecting the economy, people started coming up with safer ways to connect with their audience. There is more acceptance of technological advancements among people and they have started becoming compliant with things that were thought to be too-techy for them.
Enter the world of telemedicine. Now, you can book virtual appointments with doctors and discuss your medical issues over a video call or a text message. It has become synonymous with remote healthcare.
It allows long-distance patients to connect with doctors for care, advice, education, intervention, monitoring, and even, in some cases, remote admissions.
Unscheduled Doctor's Appointments are a big NO
Say goodbye to walking down to your GI cancer surgeon without an appointment. Whether it is post-operative care or a routine checkup to address the problems of the GI tract, do not visit the doctor without appointments. And, this rule is true for every other medical professional you visit.
With the number of asymptomatic cases on the rise, your chances of getting infected are incredibly high. So, call the medical expert, book an appointment, and show up on time to avoid coming in contact with other patients.
Avoid Over-Crowding the Clinic
As Indians, we have a strong support system and even if there is a normal checkup at the hospital, several relatives attend the patient. It is an admirable quality of our culture, whereby we take the utmost care of the patients. But the current pandemic situation requires special measures. Come to the clinic with only one relative so that you do not increase your risk as well as the risk of your relatives by bringing them into a crowded place.
Doctors have already started staggering the appointment so that social distancing measures are followed in the clinic. But, as responsible patients, we need to do our part and avoid bringing so many people to the doctor's place of work.
Practice Social Distancing
This may now sound to be a cliche, but the point of social distancing needs to be reiterated. It is a new concept for a highly populated country like ours and it will take us some time to get used to it. You must try and avoid close contact with a sick person. If you have a sick family member, try to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet.
When outside, the 6-feet distance becomes all the more essential. Do not function in groups, and avoid being in close proximity with others. Remember that the Covid-19 virus can spread from asymptomatic persons as well. These norms should be followed even while visiting a doctor. It will protect you from infections especially when your immune system is already affected by the disease.
Additionally, avoid touch your face without cleaning your hands first. You have touched several different surfaces and then putting those fingers on your face can make you susceptible to infection.
Cover your Mouth and Nose
Everyone should wear a mask, when around in public. Many people wear masks but remove them when communicating with others. A few will have their masks around their necks and then, some people won't cover their nose and mouth properly.
Improper use of masks will leave you vulnerable to Novel Coronavirus. Wear the mask in a way it helps prevents infections. If you do not have access to masks, use a cloth covering your nose and mouth. Make sure that the material is breathable, clean and, hygienic.
Do not ignore your Health: Get in touch with your Doctor immediately
Due to the Novel Coronavirus, we are doing all things we can to boost our immunity. Drinking regular kadhaas, sanitizing your place rigorously, and avoiding social gatherings is essential, but it doesn't mean you should ignore routine medical checkups.
As things are progressing, one thing is sure: Sars-COVID 2 is here to stay for a long time. Even if vaccines and medicines are launched this year, it will take some time to reach every member of society. By postponing your checkups and surgeries for a fortnight or a month won't reduce your chances of getting infected with Corona. Instead, it will worsen your health and affect your chances of swift recovery. The only way to protect yourself against Coronavirus is to take preventative measures. Panic is not the solution. So, do not delay your routine checkups.
Please remember that medical screenings help you in detecting the disease early and give you an excellent chance of recovery. Visit a doctor, but take all the necessary precautions. This way you will gain real health.