Doctor Appointments - How To Limit Illness During Your Visit


Most people rely on appointments at their doctor's office to get a routine check-up, treat an illness or injury, or even have prescriptions changed or refilled. It's also likely you will be sharing the same seats, or touching the same surfaces, like medical equipment, as several other patients who've visited while feeling under the weather. In addition, the demands of high-volume patient care may leave office staff little time to take proper sanitary measures. If you are feeling unwell, the last thing you'd want is to catch an illness while tending to another medical issue. So how can you stay safe?

  • Opt for virtual health care appointments.

Telehealth or telemedicine consultations are a reliable medical resource for individuals with limited access to in-person doctor appointments. If you are sick with a contagious illness, they are an excellent option to minimize the risk of infection. Additionally, if you are recovering from an injury, you limit the risk of causing further damage and allow more time for at-home rest.

If you are experiencing mild illness or injury that doesn't entirely warrant an in-person doctor visit, telehealth care consultations are often a go-to for managing UTIs, colds, migraines, stomach flu, etc.

  • Consider health and safety preventative measures during your visit.

The Covid-19 pandemic was a historical turning point in how healthcare facilities operate regarding public health safety. Although these implementations are no longer mandatory for the most part. For example, Scripps has implemented five health precautions:

  • Mandated face masks for all individuals
  • A restricted number of visitors
  • Placing patients suspected of having Covid-19 in a designated area
  • Strict routine sanitation and sterilization efforts for all equipment and facilities
  • Signing-in curbside

  • Regularly keep your hands washed.

According to experts, washing your hands correctly is the optimal method of combatting illness-causing germs. To do a thorough hand wash:

  • Run warm water over your hands to get them wet
  • Rub the soap into your hands until well-lathered.
  • Continue rubbing the soap along your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Ensure all surface area on your hands is thoroughly covered; this includes the webbings of your fingers, the backside of your hand, underneath fingernails, and along the wrists.
  • Thoroughly rinse your hands clean with warm running water.
  • Use your elbow to turn the faucet off.
  • Let your hands dry in the air, or rub them with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Hand sanitizer is also a reliable alternative if you don't have a sink and soap readily nearby. Seventy percent minimum is the recommended alcohol percentage for sufficient antibacterial coverage. A thorough hand washing upon arriving and leaving your doctor's office is also a good idea.

4. Keep your face hands-free.

The openings on your face are a direct gateway for viruses and bacteria to invade your body and make you sick. Most people make hand-to-face contact at least 23 times every 60 minutes. Making hand contact with a contaminated surface at your doctor's office can cause illness or prolong an existing one as your body is trying to recover with a heavily-strained immune system.