Why You Shouldn't Postpone Your or Your Child's Wellness Visits
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, many people have been staying at home most or even all of the time. This means that a lot of people have missed important health screenings, preventive care and other wellness services. On January 21, healthcare providers in San Diego, CA, offered tips on why it's a bad idea to miss wellness visits, and they covered each age group and provided specific details about why the wellness visits are critical to achieving and maintaining good health.
Well Child Visits
Well child visits give pediatricians an opportunity to identify potential problems as early as possible. During these visits, children are screened for conditions that can have serious consequences, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The rates of these chronic conditions are on the rise in children, and they can have serious consequences by the time kids are young adults. Wellness visits also help parents and physicians keep track of a child's growth rate. A child who falls off the growth curve might have a metabolic or other health condition that requires treatment. During wellness visits, children receive vaccines. Now more than ever, it's important to keep your child protected from contagious illnesses. Delaying or skipping vaccines could put your child at risk of a disease that's fully preventable.
Dental Cleanings and Exams
In many places dentists had to close their doors for a while in order to conserve personal protective equipment for front-line and essential workers in the COVID-19 response. Now that dentists are open again, many people are still delaying their basic dental care. This could result in cavities and new cases of gum disease. People who already have gum disease could end up with a worse situation and new complications if they delay care. Oral cancer screenings are also performed during dental cleanings and exams.
Mental Health and Well-being
In the United States, it's already difficult to find a mental healthcare provider and get regular treatment or therapy. The pandemic caused a lot of therapists to take their services online. For people who aren't able to get therapy online, either due to technology issues or due to the complicated nature of their condition, delaying in-person care could exacerbate their existing issues. Missing essential mental healthcare could be a life-or-death situation for a person with a severe mental illness. Even people with generalized anxiety disorder or depression need regular care. It's difficult to go through these tough times even without a mental health condition. For someone with depression, trying to cope during a pandemic often requires the help of a mental health professional. When possible, schedule mental health screenings and therapy through telehealth. If it's not possible, have faith that medical and mental healthcare providers are doing their best to maintain safe environments for themselves and their patients.
Chronic Disease Screenings
Americans suffer from a lot of chronic diseases. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are just a few conditions for which most Americans should have an annual screening. Putting this off could cause a person to develop untreated diabetes or high blood pressure, which can lead to serious complications. Cancer screenings, including mammograms, colonoscopies and prostate exams, are also important. These screenings should not be delayed. The earlier cancer is detected, the more easy it is to treat. Early detection also increases the success rate of cancer treatment.
Care for Acute Conditions
Just like you shouldn't skip your teeth cleaning appointment or your child's annual wellness visit, you also shouldn't delay care for an acute health problem. Most primary care doctors offer telehealth services for many acute issues. When you call for an appointment or attempt to schedule one online, you will go through a series of questions about your symptoms. These screenings will help the office personnel triage you into either a telehealth visit or an in-person appointment. Allergies, sinus infections, influenza and shingles are just a few things that can be diagnosed and treated through telehealth. Doctors can send prescriptions to your pharmacy, and many pharmacies offer delivery services at no or little cost. If you do have to be seen for an acute illness or injury, know that doctor's offices, urgent care centers and emergency rooms all have COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Expect to have your forehead scanned for a temperature screening. You'll also have to wear a mask, and waiting areas are set up for social distancing.
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