Getting care during the pandemic
Making an appointment with my healthcare provider
- Should I be afraid to go to the doctor at this time?
- What safety precautions are in place at doctor offices and hospitals?
- Can I use telehealth if I don’t want to go to a doctor’s office?
- Why do I need to wear a mask?
- Who should wear a mask and when?
- What kind of mask should I wear?
- What is the proper way to wear a mask?
Should I be afraid to go to the doctor at this time?
It is very important to seek care when you need it. Doctors and hospitals have taken great strides to create a safe environment for those patients who need in-person care. Call your doctor first and they can help you determine if you need an in-person visit or whether a telehealth visit is best.
If you have a chronic condition, you should maintain regular contact with your doctor. If left untreated, chronic conditions can become worse and result in further complications.
While you shouldn’t be afraid to get care, you should remain vigilant by wearing a mask in public, washing your hands regularly and practicing social distancing.
As always, if you need emergency medical attention, call 911.
What safety precautions are in place at doctor offices and hospitals?
Doctors and hospitals have put numerous safety precautions in place. You will be required to wear a mask while in the building and will need to practice social distancing. Depending on the visitor restrictions, you may not be allowed to bring anyone with you into the building unless you need assistance. They may need to wait in the car. Patient rooms and public areas are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Can I use telehealth if I don’t want to go to a doctor’s office?
Cold- and flu-like symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms, so if you have these symptoms you may want to use telehealth which will allow your doctor to more safely assess you.
Each doctor makes the determination on which types of care can be handled through telehealth. As a general rule, telehealth can be used for a variety of services, including:
- Annual wellness visits/routine preventive visits
- Follow-up visits
- Consults with specialists
- Sharing test results
- Managing medication/requesting prescription refills
- Managing chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, COPD, heart failure, hyperlipidemia and hypertension
- Treating cold, allergy and flu symptoms like fever, cough and sore throat
- Treating migraines or other headaches
- Addressing minor injuries like sprains, strains and burns
- Assessing rashes or other skin problems
- Addressing urinary tract pain
- Lifestyle and nutrition counseling
- Smoking cessation counseling
- Mental health concerns
- New parent and baby concerns
You should be seen in person for urgent conditions that include:
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Cardiac or stroke symptoms
- Excessive bleeding
- Serious injuries
- Sensitive procedures like gynecological issues
- Abdominal pain
- Eye injuries or pain
If you need emergency medical attention, call 911 or go to the emergency room.
Should I get a flu shot this year?
Today there are two viruses spreading and unfortunately, both can be very contagious. That’s why it’s important to get a flu shot this year. The CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine during the 2020-2021 influenza season and says the flu vaccine is the most important step in protecting against the flu virus.
While a flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, it will reduce your risk of illness and hospitalization due to flu, which will help ease the burden on the health care system. By reducing unnecessary hospitalizations, you are also reducing your chances of being exposed to other illnesses.
Who should get a flu shot?
The CDC recommends that all persons six months of age and older get an annual flu vaccination, with rare exceptions. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu such as those 65 and older who have chronic medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes or heart disease).
Where can I get a flu shot?
You can get your free flu shot at your doctor’s office or a participating pharmacy by showing your HAP ID card.
Why do I need to wear a mask?
The CDC recommends that people wear masks when out in public, at events and gatherings and anywhere you will be around other people.
Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading it to others. Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of the virus when they are widely used by people in public settings.
It’s possible for someone to have COVID-19 even if they are not showing symptoms. Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice.
Who should wear a mask – and when?
According to the CDC, you should wear a mask whenever you are:
- Out in public
- Sick and interacting with others at home
- Caring for someone who is sick at home
Masks should not be worn by:
- Children under 2 years of age
- Anyone who has trouble breathing
- Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help from another person
What kind of mask should I wear?
According to the CDC, choose a mask that:
- Has two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
- Completely covers your nose and mouth
- Fits snugly against the sides of your face and doesn’t have gaps
- If you wear glasses, find a mask that fits closely over your nose or has a nose wire to limit fogging
Do not choose a mask that:
- Is made of fabric that makes it hard to breathe
- Has exhalation valves or vents (which allows virus particles to escape)
- Is intended for healthcare workers, such as the N95 respirator or surgical mask
What is the proper way to wear a mask?
- Wash your hands before putting on a mask
- Do not touch the mask when wearing it
- Make sure the mask covers your nose and mouth, fits snugly against the sides of your face and is secure under your chin
- When putting on the mask or taking it off, handle the mask only by the ear loops or ties
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing the mask
- Wash your hands immediately after removing the mask