Consumer Confidential: Is a routine trip to the doctor or dentist now a health hazard? | Money

Looking after your health these days feels like a health hazard.

“The bottom line is everything has risk and it’s not the time for anyone to be letting their guard down,” said Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA and an expert on infectious diseases.

She knows the danger of COVID-19 as well as anyone. In her own case, she’s in no hurry to schedule routine medical exams.

“Unless it’s really important, I’m putting things off,” Rimoin told me.

I reached out to a number of public health experts. The consensus was that if there’s anything wrong with your health, or if you think something may be wrong, don’t hesitate to seek treatment.

When it comes to routine healthcare appointments, however, the only consensus is there’s no consensus.

Some, like Rimoin, say it’s probably smart to err on the side of caution and postpone appointments. Others say you should be fairly safe visiting a doctor’s or dentist’s office.

“We just don’t have enough data yet,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, who chairs the editorial board overseeing UC Berkeley’s health publications.

His personal advice is not to skip things like checkups and physicals. Rather, consider spacing them a little further apart than usual — maybe every eight months instead of six.

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