Beyond the threat of the virus itself, the pandemic also poses secondary health risks.
“I’m seeing a lot of patients in my office right now, mostly because for the last year-and-a-half, people have been hiding away in their homes and not coming out and getting the medical care they really need,” says Dr. Vicki Bralow, who’s practiced primary care in Philadelphia for over three decades.
Dr. Bralow is most concerned about cases that involve missed opportunities for preemptive care. When it comes to serious medical conditions, like heart problems or cancer, for instance, early detection makes a major difference.
If patients put off seeing their general practitioner, Dr. Bralow says, “they’re going in for a screening, [then could] have something much more serious and difficult to deal with than a year and a half earlier.”
Bralow understands the pandemic has created psychological scarring. There are new levels of anxiety in the world.
Before the virus hit, most people wouldn’t think twice about visiting a doctor’s office. That’s not the case these days.
“Literally it starts with calling your doctor,” says Dr. Bralow, a guest on the KYW In Depth podcast. “Not your specialist. Call your family doctor or your primary, and get in to see them. Go to their office.
“If you’re very nervous about being around other people and concerned about sitting in a waiting room, then make the first morning appointment or first appointment after lunch. Put your mask on, go in there, and see your doctor. They will get you caught up on your preventative care.”
During the pandemic, Bralow has embraced telehealth. Once a skeptic, she now finds it helpful.
“It [is] a way for me to stay connected with my own patients to see if there are things going on that maybe they were ignoring.”
Whether in body or mind, Bralow’s message is straightforward: If that voice in your head is telling you it might be time to see someone, do it.
“Mental health has been a serious, serious problem,” she says, “just as serious as getting your preventative care and recognizing more serious medical conditions you might be ignoring.”
Listen to the full conversation with Bralow on the KYW Newsradio In Depth podcast above. Find much more from KYW Newsradio In Depth here.