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Treating patients with a cold.

If a patient comes in and says they are sick, or you can tell they are sick, do you treat them or reschedule?

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In hygiene school I was taught that for elective dental procedures it’s best to reschedule. This is not only for the comfort of the patient and to keep the office staff from becoming sick, but mostly for the other patients that have appointments. Yes, we wear masks and other PPE, but that’s only in the operatory. That doesn’t protect other people from what the sick patient has touched in the waiting room not to mention the aerosols that can remain in the air for hours if not days. I feel strongly about rescheduling because I have had medically compromised patients (such as elderly and organ transplant patients) that if they are exposed to any infection it can be life-threatening to them. Some offices are very good about this, especially when confirming appointments, if the patient sounds sick they are rescheduled then. However, some offices care more about the bottom line (money) and don’t share my philosophy. An office should come up with a protocol that everyone follows to protect staff members and patients alike.

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