Staying on top of your health needs is one of the keys to good health. Unfortunately, many non-urgent health care needs were paused during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. For people with chronic conditions, this was particularly challenging. As we manage through the next many months of this pandemic, returning to regular care, seeing your doctor and following care advice, will be more important than ever.
National Jewish Health has put in place many safety measures to help you feel confident as you return for regular care.
If you have a chronic condition, your body is already working hard to stay healthy. Adhering to a care plan and managing your condition can help keep your illness from getting worse, and improve your body’s ability to fight off other potential illnesses like COVID-19.
COVID-19 particularly targets the lungs. If you have asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis or another respiratory condition, it’s very important that you take medication as prescribed and let your doctor know if your condition gets worse in any way.
Use these tips to help manage your health:
Keep your prescriptions refilled – contact your pharmacy about auto refills and mail-order service so you don’t run out.
Stock up on over-the-counter medications that you use regularly.
Make sure you are up-to-date on vaccinations.
Ask about video or telehealth appointments if you are unable to leave the house.
Keep phone numbers for your doctors and pharmacy in your phone and in a central place for a caregiver to access.
Don’t wait; contact your doctor if you have questions about symptoms that are new or worsening.
It’s important to stay in contact with your health care team during the pandemic. When you visit your doctor’s office, just like other public places, there are steps you can take to help ensure your safety.
When you call to make an appointment, ask how the health care facility is preventing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping visitors safe.
Learn more about the safety precautions at National Jewish Health.
Although the CDC masking guidelines have eliminated the need for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in most places, many settings, including health care, still require masks. Use these tips from our experts to safely put on and take off your mask, as well as care for cloth masks. Wash your mask thoroughly once you are home from your appointment.
Remember to keep six or more feet between you and others wherever possible. At a doctor’s office, this may mean choosing to stand in the waiting room, instead of sitting, to be farther away from other patients. Learn more about social distancing.
Wash or sanitize your hands after touching surfaces and objects such as credit card readers or door handles. Follow this step-by-step video to see the most effective way to wash your hands. Here is a fact sheet on how to properly use hand sanitizer. Remember to avoid touching your eyes, nose, moth or face. Bacteria from your hands easily enters your body through these areas.
Germs can easily enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth. If you have to touch your face, thoroughly wash your hands before and after to prevent the spread of germs.
COVID-19 has given all of us an even better reason to make our health a priority. Make an appointment to see your doctor to address any health concerns or manage existing conditions. With the proper precautions, visiting your doctor is a part of a healthy lifestyle.
This information has been reviewed and approved by Carrie Horn, MD (July 2020)
Learn more about COVID-19 and how it affects specific health conditions in these printable patient education materials.
Download COVID-19 Materials