There Are Medical Appointments You Shouldn’t Postpone – Even During a Pandemic!

Does the threat of contracting coronavirus in a clinic or emergency room have you delaying routine (or even emergency) health care? No matter your answer, it’s important to remember there are in-person medical appointments you just shouldn’t postpone. Read on to see what five appointments are crucial to your health, even amid a pandemic.

If you’re nervous about stepping into a clinic or emergency room right now – for routine or emergency medical care – experts recommend you don’t delay your visits. That’s because there’s emerging evidence that the health threats from putting off some medical tests and exams, including those for cancer and heart disease, outweigh the risk of getting exposed to COVID-19 at a doctor’s visit, even if the virus is widespread in your community. Below are five crucial in-person medical appointments you shouldn’t postpone any longer.

Cancer Screenings

If you screen routinely for breast cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer and other malignancies or you have a personal or family history of any cancer, don’t postpone your cancer screenings. Timing can make the difference when it comes to detection and successful treatment.

Prompt Checkups for New Red-Flag Symptoms

For any new symptoms that are persistent or affecting your daily life get them checked out by your health care provider. It is important to contact your health care provide for even subtler symptoms, such as occasional chest discomfort or shortness of breath, that come and go or that stop if you sit down and rest. For any sudden emergency symptoms like crushing chest pain and trouble breathing, call 911 and get treatment in the ER.

Chronic Disease Follow-ups

If you’re already taking medicine for a health condition, see your health care provider who prescribed the medication. It may be unsafe for you to continue postponing this appointment, especially if you have an illness that can have serious complications if it’s left unmanaged, such as heart failure, chronic lung disease, kidney disease or diabetes.

Mental Health Management

Psychiatric appointments (including those that require in-person interactions), regular visits (e.g., for long-acting psychiatric drug injections or drug screening tests and pickups for patients in medication-assisted treatment programs), and blood tests for medicine titrations should continue uninterrupted. It’s important to note that if you (or someone you know) is experiencing suicidal thoughts, you may need to visit a healthcare professional right away.

Sexual Health Maintenance

If you’re experiencing new genital or urinary symptoms, think you’ve been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, or are taking medication to treat or prevent HIV, regular visits for the required lab tests should not be delayed. Also, if you’re using long-acting birth control devices, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other implants, check with your health care provider to see if you’re close to the expiration date and don’t delay an appointment if the device needs to be removed.

Source: “5 Medical Appointments You Should Stop Putting Off,”, Kristen Kendrick, March 2, 2021.