The pandemic has made us all a little more aware of our health. We overanalyze every cough and sniffle. Is that just a sore throat, or the end of the world? Does a little shortness of breath after a run mean I should quarantine for 10 days? What about that new strain from the U.K. I keep hearing about?
With the hospitals at or over capacity, emergency rooms are closed to casual queries. You might find it a little difficult to make a doctor’s appointment because they have their hands full. Beyond COVID-related questions, there are other diseases and injuries that still need attention. We are not experiencing any fewer cases of heart disease, diabetes, strep throat, and broken arms.
Babies are still being born. Auto accidents are still occurring. Kitchen accidents still cause cuts and infections. Serious burns still need immediate medical attention. Yet we have fewer medical professionals with the bandwidth to attend to these needs. The average person with no medical training is expected to do more. We are all going to have to take more ownership of our medical care. If you can’t or won’t go to the doctor for treatment and advice, here is the next best thing:
Do Home Testing
There are many tests available that you can do yourself from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Even if the results aren’t perfect, they can give you some idea of whether or not you should insist on seeing a doctor. There are even products you can buy for your pets that serve a similar purpose.
You can get that new cat litter that changes color when there is something wrong with your cat. Different colors represent different problems. You can get it via a cat litter delivery service on a subscription basis. That way, you don’t have to worry about running out at the most inconvenient times.
In the same way we have been testing for pregnancy at home for ages, we can test for many other things. Home testing kits for the coronavirus are just around the corner. These types of tests can give us actionable information that doctors can use to determine if a visit is needed. We can’t just casually pop into the doctor’s office every time we feel muscle pain. Utilizing home diagnostic tools can make a real difference.
Doctors are making house calls again. But this time, they are not actually leaving the office. They are seeing patients using video conferencing tools. We are already getting a glimpse of how econsults fit into the future of healthcare. Many people are experiencing it for the first time this year.
You make an appointment just like always. In this case, you don’t go in to see the doctor. You use your laptop or smartphone to click a link and open a video chat. If there is anything your doctor needs to see, you can use the camera on your device. You can have a face-to-face conversation without the risk of getting or giving an infection. Your doctor will schedule any lab tests that are needed, and prescribe medicine like normal. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about getting your parking validated.
Use Fitness Trackers
The Apple Watch can give you a good indication of your blood oxygen level. You can also get a reliable heart rate reading. If you like, it can even track your sleep. And that is just one of the many devices on the market that can give you health diagnostics. You can also buy glucose meters and blood pressure monitors that link to your smartphone whether it be iPhone or Android. Our devices are laden with so many sensors, we can accidentally track our fitness. Develop a more intentional use of these tools and apps as a way of staying on track and letting you know when to call a doctor.
You can’t go to the doctor for your regular checkup right now. And you will have to set aside those maintenance visits for a while, also. In the meantime, you can use at-home tests, telemedicine, and fitness trackers to stay on track while you stay at home.