Worries about catching coronavirus at doctor's office/lab... Advice?

Edited , 3 users are following.

I live in New York on Long Island, which is still considered a hot spot. Our state's lockdown is supposed to start easing on Friday, but will probably take at least a few weeks longer for my region.

I've got to make 3 visits to health care facilities next week and I'm very worried. Tuesday morning I have an appointment for a yearly mammogram/ultrasound. Another day (either Wed or Thurs, I haven't decided yet) I'm supposed to go to a lab to have blood work done for my yearly physical, which is on the 27th. And then Friday I have another yearly physical at my pulmonologist's office (was diagnosed with mild asthma when I was 12, though starting to wonder if I outgrew it as I no longer take daily medication for it and my symptoms have pretty much disappeared).

The thing that concerns me the most is exposure to a significant viral load. I'd read some good info not long ago that it's the viral load that does you in with this virus.. that going to the supermarket for a short time or being outside doesn't normally expose to you a great amount of the virus, but if you're in an indoor, enclosed setting for a greater period of time especially with a large group of people, you could get exposed to a huge dose of it. I know hospitals carry the threat of a great amount of exposure (my uncle is currently hospitalized for non-covid-related kidney failure and they forbid us to visit him), and I'm wondering if it's that bad for doctors' offices and medical labs.

I did call the lab last week for info on precautions they're taking. They're having patients call them from their car in the parking lot and letting them know when to come up to the lab. They're also requiring them to wear masks (but not gloves, for some reason). That makes me feel a little better, but the radiology group where I'm having the mammogram done hadn't said anything when I called last month to reschedule (appt was originally on the 18th of April). I'm also wondering if I should reschedule my pulmonologist appt. Like I said this is just a yearly follow-up, it's not an urgent appt.

I'm just very uncomfortable about being in this type of setting three days in a row with the danger of being exposed again with this area still being a hot spot. One of the offices (primary care doctor I think) said their health care workers get tested daily, but I'm concerned about coming into contact with other patients who may be asymptomatic and could infect me. I'm 42 and no underlying chronic conditions (save for the very mild asthma which again I suspect I've outgrown) but I hear about people around my age who the media say are "otherwise healthy" becoming critically ill. I haven't left my house since the beginning of March when I'd seen my primary care doctor for an upper respiratory infection. I've gone outside walking my dogs in the neighborhood and exercising in my back yard, but I haven't gone shopping or anything like that...other family members have done so over the past 2 months and thankfully they haven't been sick. But again I'm concerned about the environment of the doctors' offices. Any advice? Should I cancel all the appts or maybe just keep 1?

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  • Edited

    You have to look at the statistics for people getting the virus at your age and becoming critically ill or dying even with underlying illnesses and you would be very relieved. Of course the media focus on the extremely unlikely deaths, they are what sell news. Where you will be going for your tests, will not be where the covid patients will be so don't worry. Everyone will be wearing protective masks and will be really up on their health and safety. The exposure to significant viral load for example will be people who live with their whole families from children to grandparents and one of them gets sick, everyone in that family who catches the virus after who has been around the carrier every day because they are living next to each other will get more sick than the first. It happens to staff working around covid patients and in care homes where there are a lot of people living and/or working in close proximity. Visiting somewhere for a half an hour/hour appointment where everyone will be in safety equipment keeping a safe distance is not exposure to significant viral load, even if one of the staff had it! Try not to listen to all the scare stories the media gives you, look at the statistics and scientific evidence.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the voice of reason, in these times it's very much appreciated! I admit I've only seen limited amounts of scientific data/evidence. And then there are the people commenting on the articles who think they're experts on the whole thing (one person said wearing masks wouldn't help protect you, someone else said that 6 ft isn't enough for social distance, that the droplets can travel 20-30 feet). I did manage to find some articles from one of my local news stations regarding the current situation. One showed a map of my county and the number of cases in each town. For mine in particular the number of cases per 1000 people is only 15.4 (which I think translates to 0.015 % of the population?).

      My dad is 73 and he's been out and about quite frequently the past two months. Although he's got no underlying conditions, he is up there in years but he hasn't been sick at all. He did have something the end of February which he now wonders whether it was covid-19. I think I caught it from him and wasn't very sick...apart from a slight fever one morning I just had some mild symptoms - annoying cough and sinusitis. I might ask my primary care dr for an antibody test (his practice is offering them) when I get my physical in 2 weeks.

      Anyway it does help to put it in perspective, so I want to thank you again. It doesn't help that I'm going through PMS at the moment, so it's giving me some anxiety.

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    • Posted

      Try taking vitamin d and vitamin b complex, it helps with PMS symptoms and also helps your immune system which means if you do catch anything, you can fight it off quicker. I am not sure how accurate the antibody tests are now so no matter what the result, still stay safe.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. I take vitamin d3 and usually take b6 supplements starting about 2 weeks before my period. B complex in general might be a better way to go, though.

      The other day I was reading an article by a biologist about the virus which made a lot of sense, although some of it still seemed a bit fearmongering. She said to avoid public restrooms because the virus can show up in feces, so if someone had used the stall before you and had flushed the toilet (without putting the lid down), the particles can be spread into the air and linger there for quite a while. She thinks there's a good chance you could become infected if you use that stall. What's now got me concerned is that when I get my blood work done this week, they included a urinalysis. I'm not sure how at risk I'd be for getting infected by using their tiny little bathroom to collect a sample. They require me to wear a mask anyway when I go there, though I've heard masks do little to protect you anyway.

      This whole thing is just crazy..........

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