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Migraines: When You Need in-Person Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on July 16, 2020

You can manage most of your migraines from home. Telemedicine helps you connect with your doctor, share new symptoms, and discuss medication and test results.

But there are times when an in-person visit is your only option, even if you’re social distancing. You may need a Botox injection or a nerve block. (If it’s an emergency, always go to an emergency room.)  

With a few simple steps, you can protect yourself while you see a doctor for your migraines.

Know before you go. Before your visit, call your doctor’s office and ask about their safety measures. They may want you to wait in your car until they’re ready for you. Or they might check your temperature before you come in.

Often, they'll call before your visit to ask if you've had any symptoms like a cough or fever.

Many doctors are leaving extra time between patients to make sure their offices don't get crowded. Some have rearranged their waiting rooms to allow people to keep their distance. Most are cleaning and disinfecting more often.

Ask your doctor if they can send you a bill or if you can pay ahead of time. This will keep you from handling touchpads and credit cards that could spread viruses.

Wear a mask. You’re more likely to catch a virus in enclosed spaces where the air doesn’t circulate well. Cloth masks put a protective layer over your nose and mouth. This makes it less likely for you to pick up viruses or spread them to others.

Even if your doctor’s office provides masks, bring one with you to wear when you're in the building, elevator, and other enclosed spaces on the way.

Don’t touch the outside of your mask when you take it off. It could have germs on it. Use the elastic bands or ties instead.

Wash or throw out your mask after each wear. As soon as you take it off, wash or disinfect your hands.

Stay socially distant. One of the main ways viruses spread is between people who are in close contact with each other for long periods of time.

COVID-19 spreads when someone who is infected with the virus talks, coughs, or sneezes. Tiny drops from their noses or mouths fly into the air and can land on others nearby. You can infect someone even if you don't have any symptoms.

So as much as possible, stay 6 feet or more from other patients, staff, and your doctor in the waiting and exam rooms. The office may have markers on the floor to show you how far apart to stand from others.

Don’t touch. When you need to touch surfaces like elevator buttons and door pulls, use a tissue or your elbow, or wear gloves. Avoid touching your face.

Clean your hands often. Every clipboard, pen, doorknob, and exchange of insurance cards is a chance to share viruses and germs. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, before you enter the doctor's office and after you touch any shared object.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Neurology, Brain & Life: "How to Manage Migraine Disorders During COVID-19."

UNC Health Talk: "3 Tips for Returning to Your Doctor’s Office During COVID-19."

US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health: "Facial Mask: A Necessity to Beat COVID-19."

Nuvance Health: "How to Safely See Your Doctor for Non-COVID-19 Medical Care."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Social Distancing."

Mayo Clinic: "How to safely go to your doctor during the Covid-19 pandemic."

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