As a chronic kidney disease patient, routine trips for blood and urine tests are part of your life. With recent spikes in COVID-19 cases around the tri-state, it’s natural to feel uneasy about the safety of getting these labs done in-person. Being aware of the risks and benefits can help you feel more at ease and start a conversation with your care team about how to manage your CKD during the pandemic.
Importance of routine testing
Your Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati care team believes in the importance of detecting and treating chronic kidney disease early. Routine blood and urine tests allow your nephrologist to keep a close eye on the progression of the disease and effectiveness of the treatment plan.
Risks versus benefits
The CDC determined that CKD patients are among high-risk groups for contracting COVID-19. Any activities with the potential for human contact, like coming in for routine lab tests, have some degree of risk. Talk to your nephrologist about the risks versus the benefits of in-person lab testing. In some cases, your risk of complications from CKD is greater than the risk of potential coronavirus exposure. This will ultimately be a decision you make with your doctor based on your overall health and comfort level.
Some labs, like urine tests, could be done in-home. If your insurance company and lab center approve it, they will send you a test kit to complete and send back. But if you do need to have your labs done in-person, know that these facilities are among the most thoroughly sanitized places you can go. Healthcare providers are vigilant about providing clean environments so patients can continue receiving routine care. Before you come in, your lab center will likely call you for a COVID-19 phone screen. Let them know you are a high-risk patient, and they can arrange for you to come in during high-risk-patients-only hours and put additional precautions in place to protect you.
And of course, when you go in for your labs, always wear your mask and gloves, keep your distance from others, and wash your hands frequently.