In recent years, telemedicine has become a useful alternative to seeing a doctor in person or addressing chronic health conditions. All it requires is an internet connection and some kind of teleconferencing application/service to take advantage of these services. They can also treat many different conditions as well as supply therapy or prescription services. Finding a telemedicine service that takes your insurance and provides access to an array of options is crucial to getting treated for non-emergency conditions. Remember that even telemedicine has its limits and there may be some conditions or treatments that are better provided in person. Despite this, however, there are plenty of conditions an online doctor can treat. Here is a quick look at five, covering both urgent care/quick care and chronic conditions:
Cold & Flu
Have you ever had a bad case of the sniffles, a terrible sore throat, itchy/burning eyes, or any combination of terrible flu symptoms that just make your day horrible? Of course you have! And you probably didn’t think about seeing a doctor or going to urgent care to address the situation. While over-the-counter cold and flu medications might help reduce the symptoms a bit, sometimes you need that little extra step of getting a doctor’s assistance. That’s where Urgent Care by way of telemedicine comes in. Instead of needing to go to an actual urgent care facility, you can get treatment for a cold or flu via a virtual doctor. The doctor will chat with you about your medical history, your current symptoms, and help you determine if what you’re experiencing is a cold or flu. Following the discussion/appointment, they can prescribe medication for treatment appropriate to helping you recover. Treated in this manner can allow you to recover a little bit easier because you don’t even have to leave your house, and can stay in bed resting while getting the treatment unit.
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is a highly contagious inflammation of one’s eyes (specifically the conjunctiva). It might be because of a virus, bacteria, allergies, or a reaction to eye drops. The problem is that pinkeye spreads easily, but the good news is that it can be easily diagnosed. If you are doing your virtual doctor’s visit via a video call, the doctor will be able to actually see your eye and note what type of pink eye infection you have. If it’s just a phone call, they can still help you determine if you have pinkeye from your description of the symptoms. They can then prescribe treatment from there. Common treatments for pink eye include warm compresses, eye drops, or allergy medications.
Urinary Tract Infections
At some point in our lives, everyone will probably be afflicted with the dreaded urinary tract infection. A UTI has a number of symptoms and is caused by bacteria getting into the urethra. Burning sensation, a strong need to urinate, pain, and frequent urination can all be indications of an infection. During your telemedicine visit, the doctor will discuss your symptoms, history, age, potential risks, and other concerns. The questions will be laser-focused and highly specific to the individual. If the symptoms are indicative of a UTI, they’ll most likely prescribe an antibiotic to help clear up the infection and schedule a follow-up to ensure the infection is healed.
Asthma is a chronic condition and can be debilitating when an asthma attack strikes. Treating asthma usually involves inhalers and steroids, along with coaching from an asthma coach or allergy specialist. Asthma coaches help patients learn proper inhaler usage/technique, keeping the condition under control, and discussing ways to deal with the various asthma triggers in your environment. Treating your asthma with an online doctor or specialist mitigates cost, increases time efficiency, and helps the doctor help you ensure you’re following the treatment plan properly.
Depression can manifest itself in a few ways. Persistent depressive disorder is a long-lasting mood that is characterized by periods of major depression interspersed with less severe periods. Psychosis can also cause depression based on delusions of fear, guilt, poverty, illness, and many others. One of the most likely forms of depression is seasonal affective disorder, which rears its ugly head during the winter months. Signs of depression include:
- A persistent feeling of being sad
- Appetite loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Concentration and memory issues
- Minor aches and pains
- Feeling worthless
Teletherapy (a subset of telemedicine that covers mental health and wellness) can help treat this condition. Treatment for this issue can come through psychotherapy, specialized treatments, and medication. An online doctor can talk to you about the causes and treatments for your depression, in addition to diagnosing it. More importantly, they can prescribe antidepressants to help treat the issue. Going the online route can increase your comfort level and ultimately treat depression more effectively.