What Doctors Want Immunocompromised Patients to Know During COVID, with Monique Spillman, MD

The AMA’s What Doctors Wish Patients Knew™ series gives doctors a platform to share what they want patients to understand about today’s healthcare headlines.


Monique Spillman, AMA Fellow, MD, PhD, shares valuable information and insights for immunocompromised patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaker

  • Monique Spillman, MD, PhD, gynecologic oncologist and clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M College of Medicine

Transcription

Voice off: We engaged AMA Fellow Dr. Monique Spillman to share valuable information and insights for immunocompromised patients. During this stage of the pandemic, as mask mandates and restrictions on indoor gatherings are rolled back, here’s what she wants patients to know.

Mask up indoors. We recommend that they wear masks even if they have been vaccinated. Because we know that it is only due to their therapies, including chemotherapies, that their immune systems can be weakened and they are at higher risk of not only COVID-19, but other diseases as well. infectious.

Close contacts should also mask up. Of course, this can sometimes be a very difficult conversation for our patients to have. But often family and friends act to protect their loved ones.

Be careful with rapid test results. Some of the tests are better than others at detecting disease. And someone can be asymptomatic and still have the disease and spread it. And this test can become positive even 12-24 hours later. Caution is therefore still in order.

Don’t rely solely on antibody testing. There are many tests that claim to look at COVID-19 antibodies, but they don’t necessarily correlate with each other or with disease risk. So at this point, I tell patients that if they pass any of these tests, that may be important information, but I still recommend vaccination.

Gather outdoors to reduce risk. If you’re in a gathering and it’s possible to do it outside, of course, that’s a safer option. Opening the windows, enjoying the sun and staying outside is good for everyone even regardless of the pandemic.

Keep seeing your doctor. As we continue to battle COVID-19, I think one of the main takeaways is to not avoid your doctor. We had cases of cancer diagnosis being delayed because people were just too scared to come to the doctor.

Voice off: From high cholesterol to sleep apnea and long COVID, find out what doctors want patients to know about today’s healthcare headlines at ama-assn.org/wish.

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