DOCTOR ON CALL: WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO HAVE ONE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

Posted on July 8, 2020 by dbTeleHealth.com

Do you remember what you were doing on the evening of 31st December last year? I can bet most of us were thinking about our travel plans for 2020, getting a new job or going abroad for studies.

Who knew the villain of our stories was sitting just around the corner, waiting to shout, “Surprise!”

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has now spread to 213 countries and territories worldwide with America reporting close to 45,000 new cases every day. The pandemic has so far resulted in the death of 130,000 Americans and over 3 million have tested positive.

Coronavirus has now not only halted vacation or travel plans but the usual day to day activities as well. Businesses have got affected, studies have got hampered and families have got stranded in different parts of the world.

People also fear going to the hospital or to the clinics for their usual checkups and some ailments that they suffer. That’s the reason why having a dr on call becomes so important during these times. Let’s understand what telemedicine is and what it means for you and your family.

What is telemedicine?

Did you ever suffer from an ailment that you needed to get checked by the doctor but you kept postponing it because you didn’t have the time to sit around in the clinic and wait for your turn?

Or maybe you had to go for a regular medical checkup with your kid but you had an important meeting you just couldn’t miss?

Happens many times, right?

That’s how telemedicine came into the picture.

Telemedicine is the practice of caring for patients remotely, meaning that the health care professional can diagnose, evaluate and treat patients using various electronic and audiovisual technologies.

According to a report by the American Hospital Association, more than 75% of hospitals in America make use of some or the other telehealth services.

People all over the world are coming to see the benefits that telemedicine has to offer. Be it less wastage of time due to longer commutes or late appointments, reduced in-person visit costs, better access to specialists who might be miles away from your location, getting healthcare problems resolved within minutes or just the comfort of knowing that you always have a doctor ready to check up on you or your family when the need arises.

In fact, according to a study by the American Journal of Managed Care, telemedicine patients score lower for anxiety, stress and depression and require 38% fewer hospital admissions.

The benefits of telemedicine are indeed many for patients as well as doctors. But why does this become even more important during the coronavirus pandemic? To understand that, we’ll need to go into the details of what coronavirus is and how it spreads.

What is a coronavirus and how does it spread?

A virus called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak first in China in December 2019. This disease was later termed as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

COVID-19 symptoms include cough, fever or chills, difficulty breathing, body or muscle aches, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, nausea or vomiting and loss of taste or smell.

Experts say that the coronavirus spreads mostly from person to person. The three major ways in which it spreads is:

  • Surface transmission: You can catch the infection if you touch a surface that someone who is infected has coughed or sneezed on. The way this can happen is that you may touch the doorknob or the countertop and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes. While the virus stays for up to 24 hours on some surfaces, its life expands up to 2 to 3 days on plastic (your elevator buttons or milk bags) and for 5 days on metal surfaces like your doorknobs.
  • Droplets: When an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks around you, the virus may fly into the air from their nose or mouth. If you are within 6 feet of that person, you might end up breathing those droplets into your lungs.
  • Airborne transmission of aerosols: In a perspective piece published by the Journal Science, a team led by Kimberly A. Prather suggests that “a large proportion of the spread of COVID-19 appears to be occurring through airborne transmission of aerosols produced by asymptomatic individuals during breathing and talking.” It is said that this virus may remain active in aerosols for as long as three hours.

As the coronavirus symptoms are more or less the same as your ordinary flu symptoms, differentiating between the two gets very difficult unless you get yourself checked by a doctor or take the coronavirus test.

The other most dangerous part about it is that you can catch this infection from any place or person even if that person is an asymptomatic person.

Why having a doctor on call becomes so important during the pandemic?

Doctors and nurses across the world are overburdened and overwhelmed fighting the pandemic. Many of them are at risk of catching the infection even after following all the safety guidelines. In times like these, visiting the hospitals or health clinics can prove out to be quite dangerous. You might catch an infection while touching certain surfaces or just by breathing in the virus. Not to mention the fact that many hospitals and clinics are running out of beds and spaces to treat infected patients. It becomes all the more important to not venture out to your local hospitals and clinics. It’s a safe way out for both - you as well as the health professionals.

But what if you found yourself catching a slight fever at 2 in the morning? Or your child developed a skin infection? Or you need to get a monthly checkup for some illness you’re suffering from?

In this case, you require a health professional who can diagnose you, evaluate your condition and prescribe you certain medications if at all you require them.

Having a 24 hr doctor is the first step to making sure that you and your family stay safe and at less risk during the pandemic. It also relieves the burden from our healthcare system that is working day in and day out at the hospitals and clinics.

What other steps can be taken to keep yourself and your family safe during the pandemic?

Below are some steps you could follow:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before eating, after using the toilet and after sneezing or coughing. If someone enters your home, make sure they wash their hands as well. If you are using sanitizer, use one that has at least 60% alcohol in it.
  • Instead of covering your mouth while sneezing or coughing, use tissue papers and discard them. If you do not have one in handy, cough into your elbows instead of your hands. This makes sure the virus does not spread to other surfaces that you touch.
  • Being brave isn’t walking into your office even when you’re sick. It’s staying at home and taking care of yourself.
  • Wearing a face mask does protect you from infections but you need to wash it after every shift to get rid of germs and bacteria. Use soap and hot water as heat helps kill coronaviruses.
  • Sanitize everything that you buy from outside. For your vegetables and fruits, soak them in warm water with baking soda and let them remain for at least four hours.
  • Regularly disinfect high-touch areas in your house using soap, water, disinfecting wipe or a sanitizing spray.

While there are a lot many other precautions you need to take care of, these are the ones you should definitely get started with.

The last but the most important one is to not blindly start with any medication or supplement just because there are websites proclaiming that they help kill coronavirus or boost up immunity.

All you need to do is call up your reliable telemedicine provider and get your doubts clarified by a trusted and licensed U.S. physician by signing up on: https://dbtelehealth.com