SAN ANTONIO — As we get deeper into the coronavirus pandemic, we're getting more data about who is getting tested and why.
Data from Metro Health reports that 56% of those being tested are women and 44% are men. That's not good news especially because men have a higher risk for complications with coronavirus.
"Particularly when you look at that age group of 60 and older, our patients that we know are at a higher risk for complications, hospitalizations and deaths," Dr. Jason Bowling, who is the hospital epidemiologist for University Health, said.
He says getting tested is a must.
"It's really important for people to get tested if they have symptoms want to confirm the diagnosis," Bowling said. "If they have COVID-19 disease, they can be assessed to see if they need to be in the hospital."
Research has shown that many men don't go to the doctor in general for a fear of getting a diagnosis. Some also say they have discomfort or concern about physical exams. And one study found 40% of men would see a doctor only for something serious.
"This is important for us to discuss because COVID-19 can be a very serious disease, so it's important for men to recognize that seeking healthcare is more important," Bowling said.
Dr. Bowling pointed out many of the men who are getting tested are waiting too long to find out if they have the virus.
"What we see is a delayed diagnosis if people wait until they are really in bad shape before they get a diagnosis or a test. They may be admitted to the hospital at that point urgently but they are going to be past the window where some of these therapies we have available are going to have the most benefit," he said.
If you won't do it for yourself, Dr. Bowling told us you should get the test to protect others:
"It can prevent you from having more serious complications but also prevent transmission to your family or other household members and the community."
Anybody looking to get a free coronavirus test, especially men, can find those locations here.
For more information about family health call (210) 358-3045. You can also find the rest of Wear The Gown stories at Wear The Gown.com.