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
Concentration and memory issues
Minor aches and pains
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.
According to Canadian scientists, being exposed to “good bacteria” early in life could prevent asthma developing.
The research team, reporting in Science Translational Medicine, were analyzing the billions of bugs that naturally call the human body home.
Their analysis of 319 children showed they were at higher risk of asthma if four types of bacteria were missing.
Experts said the “right bugs at the right time” could be the best way of preventing allergies and asthma.
In the body, bacteria, fungi and viruses outnumber human cells 10 to one, and this “microbiome” is thought to have a huge impact on health.
The specialists, at the University of British Columbia and the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, compared the microbiome at three months and at one year with asthma risk at the age of three.
Children lacking four types of bacteria – Faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Veillonella, and Rothia (Flvr) – at three months were at high risk of developing asthma at the age of three, based on wheeze and skin allergy tests.
The same effect was not noticed in the microbiome of one-year-olds, suggesting that the first few months of life are crucial.
Further experiments showed that giving the bacterial cocktail to previously germ-free mice reduced inflammation in the airways of their pups.
One of the researchers, Dr. Stuart Turvey, said: “Our longer-term vision would be that children in early life could be supplemented with Flvr to look to prevent the ultimate development of asthma
“I want to emphasize that we are not ready for that yet, we know very little about these bacteria, [but] our ultimate vision of the future would be to prevent this disease.”
Asthma is caused by airways that are more sensitive to irritation and inflammation.
One explanation for the rise in asthma and allergies is the “hygiene hypothesis”, which suggests that children are no longer exposed to enough microbes to calibrate the immune system to tell the difference between friend and foe.
Giving birth by Caesarean section and not breast-feeding both limit the bacteria that are passed to a newborn. Antibiotics taken by a pregnant woman or newborn child can also change the microbiome.
Dr. Brett Finlay, another researcher in the project, said: “[I was] surprised to realize that fecal microbes may be influencing things.
“What data’s really starting to show these days is that the immune system gets itself set up in the gut and influences how it works everywhere else in the body.”
According to a new research, fruits, vegetables and whole-grains might be an unlikely treatment for asthma.
The animal study results, published in Nature Medicine, showed that a high-fiber diet could reduce inflammation in the lungs.
The extra fiber changed the nutrients being absorbed from the gut, which in turn altered the immune system.
The researchers argue the shift to processed foods may explain why more people are developing asthma.
The airways are more sensitive to irritation and more likely to become inflamed in people with asthma.
It leads to a narrowing of the airways that make it harder to breathe.
However, a possible solution may lie in another organ, the gut, and the bacteria which live there.
The cells of the human body are vastly outnumbered by the trillions of microbes that live in and on it.
There is growing evidence that these bacteria have a significant impact on health.
Fruits, vegetables and whole-grains might be an unlikely treatment for asthma
A team at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland showed that the high and low fiber diets altered the types of bacteria living in the guts of the mice.
Bacteria which can munch on soluble fiber, the type found in fruit and vegetables, flourished on the high-fiber diet and they in turn produced more short-chain fatty acids – a type of fat, which is absorbed into the blood.
The scientists said these fatty acids acted as signals to the immune system and resulted in the lungs being more resistant to irritation.
The opposite happened in low-fiber diets and the mice became more vulnerable to asthma.
Their report argued that a dietary shift away from fiber in favor of processed foods may be involved in rising levels of asthma.
It said: “In recent decades, there has been a well-documented increase in the incidence of allergic asthma in developed countries and coincident with this increase have been changes in diet, including reduced consumption of fiber.”
One of the researchers, Dr. Benjamin Marsland said some of the differences caused by high-fiber diets have already been observed in people by comparing diets in Europe and Burkina Faso.
The team in Lausanne is also investigating the role of diet in long-term lung inflammation such as COPD, which is set to become the world’s third biggest killer.
An alternative to tweaking diets is giving the purified fatty acids themselves as a dietary supplement.
This worked in mice, but Dr. Benjamin Marsland warns there “certainly needs to be more work” before this is suggested in people.
Jazz singer Patti Austin has cancelled a concert in Beijing after suffering “a severe asthma attack”.
A statement on the singer’s website said Patti Austin was unable to perform at Forbidden City Concert Hall on Friday night “due to health problems”.
While the cause of her illness has not been confirmed, it comes at a time of growing concern over air pollution levels in the Chinese capital.
Beijing has recently announced measures to combat worsening pollution.
They include taking half of the city’s four million private cars off the roads on days when there are serious levels of pollution.
The system will be based on a vehicle’s license plate – odd numbers will be allowed on the roads one day, even numbers the next.
Patti Austin was unable to perform at Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing due to health problems
A statement on Patti Austin’s website said: “She was taken in an emergency to the Peking Union Medical College Hospital this morning where she has been treated for a severe asthma attack in combination with respiratory infection.
“Ms Austin is currently resting in her hotel. Her current breathing condition does not physically enable her to perform tonight.
“Ms Austin is extremely disappointed about this situation since she was very much looking forward to performing.”
The new anti-pollution system will give out four different degrees of air pollution warning – blue, yellow, amber and red.
On days when an amber warning is given, factories will stop production and work will be halted on construction and building sites.
Restaurants which offer open-air barbecues will be ordered to close temporarily, and fireworks will be banned throughout the city.
When a red warning is issued, the new car restriction measure will be implemented. Schools and kindergartens will also be closed.
The measure to restrict the number of private cars from using the road is proving to be controversial.
Critics have aired their concern that those who can afford to buy two or more cars will able to drive any day when the restriction is in force.
Beijing has almost 21 million permanent residents, according to official estimates.
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