Visiting your doctor during this pandemic – Dr. Archana Kavalakkat


During this Covid pandemic we have learnt a lot about disease and disease transmission in general. It has become clear to all of us, that Covid, which has shaken us out of our slumber is probably here to stay for a while.

The medical fraternity, scientists and epidemiologists are learning new things about the disease at every stage. Old recommendations are being set aside and new guidelines are being issued every few weeks.

Now that the lockdown is slowly opening up we are stepping out for more and more activities.

Essential medical visits for our kids’ vaccination, pending medical follow ups for children with chronic problems and surgeries that have been postponed due to the lock down are now hot on the list .

At Currae Hospital (Rosa opposite Suraj water park) we have been continuously offering services throughout this lockdown. Deliveries are being conducted in the most safe and secure environment, with utmost precautions to prevent spread of the Coronavirus.

Our NICU team of dedicated doctors and nurses has been successfully looking after very sick and tiny premature babies throughout these difficult times.
In our out patient department,we have been encouraging parents to complete vaccinations of their children with minimal delay, if at all.

Vaccinations protect against so many diseases and the WHO has recommended that vaccinations be carried out in spite of the pandemic. Parents are extremely fearful of visiting clinics during this time. I have seen parents wrapping children up completely, putting ill fitting masks on babies faces,covering their faces with plastic sheets with barely enough space to breathe and many more variations. Some have even sprayed their child with hand sanitizer after reaching home. This came to my knowledge as the child developed eye irritation as a consequence !

Remember, dear friends we have to be extremely practical about masks and children. Most times very young children will pull out masks from their faces and even pull down their mothers’ masks. Whereas,some babies surprisingly wear masks absolutely comfortably without protest others may just not cooperate.

I would urge parents to use masks that are well fitting, or else stitch a mask at home with good quality breathable cotton material. Wash the masks regularly and let them dry out in sunlight. You could iron them if enough sunlight not available. For other reusable masks follow the manufacturers instructions. It may not always be financially viable to throw away disposable masks after brief use. These can be air dried and reused after 4 days if not soiled. If using masks as such is not feasible then it’s best cover the child’s face with a scarf or handkerchief.

Many times none of this is possible. In that case do not force your child. A screaming child will generate and inhale even more aerosol.

So what do you do before you visit the doctor?

1. First and foremost, try to analyse if the visit is avoidable and if a teleconsultation will resolve the issue especially if the child has a fever. If so by all means consult the doctor online/ video consult. Most doctors have activated this facility and it has been made perfectly legal.

2. If you do need to visit the doctor, make sure you take an appointment and be punctual.

3. Carry your file/ relevant documents or vaccination chart.

4. Dress your child in minimal and comfortable clothing, no hats, jackets or toys should be carried.

5. Please see that only a minimum number of bystanders accompany the child. Those with fever or those in quarantine should not accompany the child. Senior citizens should stay home as far as possible.

6. A mask should be worn by all and preferably by the child as well. As discussed above this may not be possible in all situations.

7. Once you reach your destination, before stepping out of your private vehicle try to make sure from the receptionist/ security of hospital that the doctor is free to see your baby.

8. Avoid carrying your bags, shopping bags etc into the hospital.

9. Hand sanitizers are placed in all hospitals and clinics. Use before entering the doctors chamber.

10. Always make sure your mask is well placed and covering your face and nose. If not adjust the straps. Avoid touching the mask.

11. Maintain a distance as suggested by the doctor. Avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily.

12. Make a list of your problems and discuss them as fast as possible to avoid long duration of exposure. Minor problems can be conveyed in text form.

13. Preferably billing should also be done simultaneously where possible to keep the visit short.

14. Use hand sanitizer while leaving as well.

15. Hand wash after you reach home. You may choose to wash the clothes after getting back.

We should take all precautions when stepping out. This pandemic is going to affect our lives for many more months. We have to keep in mind that we need to stay safe but try to maintain a stable and calm mind. A peaceful mind is the key to good mental health.

No immune booster can match what a calm and peaceful mind can do to boost your system.

Stay sharp, stay calm , and stay safe!

Dr. Archana Kavalakkat
Head of Neonatal services.
Currae Hospitals.
?+91-9699304142 / 022-25984142

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