The Covid-19 pandemic has made going to the doctor’s office rather uncomfortable for a lot of people. Yet it’s never been more important to take care of your health.
The good news is that you don’t need to leave your home for many health treatments. Virtual visits with healthcare professionals are literally a click away. Why sit in a cold exam room when you can stay in your robe and jammies?
Online health treatments are evolving rapidly. Here are six health issues you can address in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Allergies are seasonal for some and a daily problem for others. In either case, uncontrolled allergies will make you miserable. (And who wants to be that person who sneezes in public these days?)
There’s a multitude of over-the-counter medications that treat allergies and their symptoms. If you haven’t found one that works for you, talking to an allergist might save you time and misery. While allergies are most commonly diagnosed through skin tests in a doctor’s office, video consults can be a viable alternative.
Prepare ahead for your virtual assessment. Take notes about things that trigger your allergies, like dust, certain perfumes or the cat. When your online consultation occurs, you’ll be able to provide the information necessary for diagnosis and treatment.
Note that if your allergies are severe enough to warrant shots, you’ll have to visit your doctor in person. Shots require remaining in the office for a time to make sure you don’t experience a severe reaction.
Learning you have an STD is never going to be fun. But with online diagnosis and medications delivered to your door, at least it can be private.
And that privacy is a game-changer. Gone is the stigma of wondering who in your doctor’s office has read your medical records. Also gone is any embarrassment you might have experienced picking up a medication in person.
Some online companies can connect patients with providers to address multiple sexual health issues. They can provide, for example, prescriptions for herpes medication, STI testing, HPV screening, and pre-exposure prophylaxis for those at risk for HIV.
You need to address existing STDs regardless of your present level of sexual activity. Even if you’re socially distancing at the moment, you need to keep current with your prescribed medications. Online providers make that easy and comfortingly confidential.
You might be noticing suspicious moles more often. Or perhaps pandemic stress has caused a rash or a never-ending case of “maskne.”
Diagnosis and treatment of some skin conditions may not require a trip to the dermatologist. Even with more serious issues, online consultations can be useful screening tools.
If that mole, rash or bruise looks questionable, you’ll need to visit a dermatologist in person. By its nature, dermatology requires the physician to see and touch what’s going on to make an accurate diagnosis. For ailments like acne and contact dermatitis, however, a virtual visit may be all you need to get things cleared up.
Don’t let anxiety about sitting in a waiting room keep you from getting moles and other spots checked out now. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and skin issues can be warning signs of other serious health conditions.
Get started with a virtual visit. If necessary, make the in-person visit.
Unsurprisingly, studies suggest that the frequency of headaches and migraines has increased during the pandemic. Fortunately, you can go online to have these diagnosed and medications prescribed that might provide relief.
Before you have that virtual visit with a healthcare provider, compile information they’ll need to make a diagnosis. That includes the location of the pain, duration, frequency, potential triggers and other symptoms such as visual disturbances.
These health conditions lend themselves well to online diagnosis and treatment. So if you’ve never been diagnosed with a migraine, or the frequency or severity of your headaches has increased, don’t wait. Relief might be a click away.
Mental health services have been “online” for a long time — it’s just that the channel was different. Before the internet was used widely, it was common to dial up and talk to a therapist on the phone.
Now mental health services can be accessed via text, video and audio. While access is relatively easy, the cost might still be pricey, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover mental health services. Because there are a lot of providers to choose from, though, you can shop around.
There are pros and cons to virtual therapy. One caveat is that if you suffer from a severe mental illness, you should be seeing a professional in real life. Virtual contact can make it difficult for the therapist to read body language and vocal cues.
If you simply need to talk through your stress or personal problems, though, you might start with online treatment. It’s easy to find a provider through sites like BetterHelp and Talkspace, and it takes little time to get started. Furthermore, many providers offer texting options, which means you have constant access from your mobile device.
If you are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, call one of the several available hotlines immediately.
The pandemic has dramatically increased online access to healthcare providers, perhaps including your own doctor. As a result, some health insurance plans have expanded coverage to virtual providers.
Healthcare providers can easily diagnose and prescribe medications for many common health issues online. These include conditions like the cold and flu, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis and tooth pain.
Before getting into the car to visit your doctor’s office, try finding an online provider. For many routine issues, you can save yourself the trip.
Telemedicine has been around for a long time, but it was widely underutilized. The global pandemic has provided the impetus for rapid growth in virtual access.
The pivot from in-person doctor visits to virtual ones makes sense. People increasingly go online to do everything from banking to shopping to consuming news. In a country that spends nearly $4 trillion a year on healthcare, the industry needed to catch up.
Although some health issues can only be addressed in person, many are well suited to online treatments.
People are trying a lot of new things at home these days, like attending meetings or educating kids. Keeping up with your health might be the easiest home-based thing you can do.