Many doctor's offices and clinics are changing the way they approach treatment for cancer during the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. But some treatments must go on as planned. If you have mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and need to leave home to get your treatment, there are steps you can take to stay as safe as possible.
Traveling to a Clinic or Doctor's Office
Drive yourself when possible. If you're able to use your own transportation, you'll cut the number of people and surfaces you might come in contact with that could expose you to the virus.
Assign a driver. When driving yourself isn't an option, find someone who can give you a lift. Ideally, this would be a person in your own household. If you need to ask someone else, be sure they're not at high risk for COVID-19 or showing symptoms. You can also ride with the windows down if the weather permits. Closed spaces without good air circulation can raise your chances of breathing in airborne droplets of the virus.
Take precautions on public transportation. The more people you're around, the greater your chances of getting the virus. When you ride a bus, train, or subway, take extra care with these steps:
Keep a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people. Sit a few seats or rows apart from others, and stand away from people waiting on a platform or at a bus stop.
Wear a mask. The CDC recommends that all people in public wear a cloth face cover over their nose and mouth when around other people. You should still stand at least 6 feet away from others, even when you have a mask on. Make sure the mask fits snugly. You should either wear a disposable mask or one that you can wash when you get home.
Avoid touching your face. Even if you're wearing a mask, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. These are all easy entry spots into your system for the virus.
Try not to touch surfaces when possible. The coronavirus can live for up to 72 hours on plastics and steel. The fewer things you touch while you're heading to your appointment, the better.
Clean your hands often. When you're not near soap and water, use hand sanitizer that's at least 60% alcohol. Carry a travel-sized version with you as you go to your appointments. Wash your hands as soon as you get there and again when you get home. Lather for at least 20 seconds with soap and then rinse.
Once You Arrive
Your clinic or doctor's office will likely have a special setup for checking you in to help lessen the spread of the virus. They may:
- Screen you for signs of infection by taking your temperature or asking about symptoms of illness
- Wear protective gear as they treat you
- Provide you with a face mask if you don't already have one
- Space apart the seating in their waiting room to make sure you're at least 6 feet from others
- Not allow your family members to be with you at the appointment