By Steven Rothschild, MD
As areas around the country begin to reopen, let's talk about why now, in the wake of COVID-19, is the right time to develop a relationship with a family physician or other primary care clinician if you do not already have one.
Untreated or undertreated chronic illnesses, like hypertension, diabetes, obesity or asthma, increase the risk of hospitalization and death among those who contract COVID-19. Primary care clinicians are on the front line in addressing these chronic illnesses.
At Rush, we have been doing a lot of that care by virtual visits, even before the pandemic. Sometimes, though, we still need to do an in-person visit to examine the patient and provide treatment. You should not put off important preventive care because you are worried about COVID.
Unlike your local supermarket, pharmacy or park, we are able to control the flow of patients into our office, to reduce exposure to others. One-hundred percent of staff and guests wear masks. When you enter an exam room, every surface has been disinfected before you walk in.
Every one of us knows what COVID is about and the damage it can do. No one takes this lightly. Our clinics are literally some of the safest spaces outside of your own home that you can be in right now.
This is not the time to avoid getting needed health care. Whether you are recovering from COVID-19 or have been spared so far, take a moment to assess your health and connect with a primary care clinician virtually or in person.
Steven Rothschild, MD, is chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Rush University Medical Center.