What to Do If You Can't Visit a Dermatologist During the Coronavirus Pandemic

May 5, 2020

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, it has become difficult to see a doctor for any reason.

Medical facilities all over the world have been postponing non-essential procedures and doing virtual visits instead.

With summer on the horizon, it could be problematic for those relying on routine dermatologist visits to assess their risk for melanoma or other skin cancers.

If you find yourself in this boat, Dr. Adam Friedman, professor of dermatology at George Washington University's School of Medicine in Washington, D.C told "Today" that self-exams conducted at home every one or two months are critical.

A self-exam means you routinely examine your skin for changes. He notes to also check your scalp and your back. Since the back is a common place for a malignant melanoma, Friedman suggests having someone examine your back if it is difficult to see.

Dr. Kathleen Suozzi, assistant professor in the dermatology department of Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, told the publication that one should look for the ABCDE’s of melanomas including asymmetry (one half differs from the other), irregular borders, light or very dark color, diameters greater than a pencil eraser, and evolution (if it looks different than the last time you checked).

She noted that bleeding on painful spots could be troublesome.

If you see anything out of the ordinary contact a dermatologist right away via a virtual appointment, which allows dermatologists to assess whether an in-person visit is crucial or if it can be postponed.

While the public is encouraged to stay-at-home to prevent the spread of the novel virus, the sun is going to be out in full force.

Dr. Seemal Desai, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology's board of directors and dermatologist, emphasized that since regular visits aren’t as accessible, it is crucial to protect your skin from the sun.

"Even in a time of COVID ... the sun is as strong as ever. You need to seek shade when appropriate, wear sun-protective clothing and talk to your dermatologist about new or changed lesions,” he told the publication.

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