Allergy season officially begins in spring with the annual change of the seasons, but as many of us know, that is not the only time of year for allergy sufferers. A total of 23.6 million Americans was diagnosed with allergies last year from pollen to mold, food to insect bites. For many, this means watery eyes, runny noses, and plenty of sneezing. For others, allergies can be the start of something more serious like chronic sinus infections or extreme reactions like anaphylaxis.
Many people deal with more mild allergy symptoms for years without seeking treatment, managing them with over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines and decongestants, but if symptoms become severe and interrupt your daily life, consider contacting a doctor.
Allergies are an immune system overreaction to foreign material. It is good to know when to see a doctor and what to expect. You might not know what your allergy triggers are, and in that case, your doctor will help you find out. Telemedicine will help you avoid procrastination by eliminating the need to leave the house, sit in a waiting room, and make a trip to the pharmacy.
Find a telemedicine company online by using your computer, tablet, or smartphone and look for services or plans that suit your needs. You will be required to register and provide some basic medical background and health insurance information if you have any. It takes only a few minutes between pre-setting your doctor appointment before your face-to-face video consult begins.
While you wait, jot down a few questions you have for your doctor along with the symptoms you have been experiencing and how long you have had them. Don’t forget to mention allergies to medications and have your current pharmacy information handy in case the doctor needs to prescribe something for treatment. You should take your temperature just before your video chat begins so you can give this information to the doctor as well.
In 30 minutes or less, you will be examined by a board certified doctor in your state. After briefly going over your medical history, the doctor may ask a few questions like whether you have tried any OTC medications to ease your symptoms, have or had any respiratory infections, allergic reactions that led to anaphylaxis, asthma symptoms, or trouble sleeping. It is common to ask about daily habits and routines that may give insight to exposure to allergens. They will assess you visually for symptoms like rashes, swelling, fatigue, and labored breathing.
Your treatment plan to alleviate your allergy symptoms may include discovering and avoiding the allergy trigger, using OTC medication, nasal spray, or eye drops. The doctor may prescribe a medication if they feel it is medically necessary.
The situation could require a referral to a specialist for blood tests or allergy skin testing for a more accurate diagnosis. You will be able to ask questions about your diagnosis and treatment plan going forward including follow-up visits and lifestyle tips for avoiding future irritants and attacks.
By the end of your appointment, you will be certain of your next step in the treatment plan. Any prescriptions can be sent directly to the local pharmacy of your choice. You saved time and money by eliminating the travel time and reworking your busy schedule. The consultation itself is often less than an office visit and your health insurance company may even cover your video chat consultation just like a regular doctor appointment.
Insurance companies understand that fully qualified, board-certified medical providers offer these services and that they are subject to the same HIPAA-compliance laws on their web platforms for both privacy and security. Telemedicine is not for severe illnesses or emergency care services, but for common conditions or complaints that can be quickly diagnosed in the comfort of your own home, when work or travel circumstances get in the way, or if a sick child needs to rest in bed.
Faris, S., 2016. Allergist Visit Guide, http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/allergist-visit-guide#2
How Telemedicine Services Can Treat Allergies, 2016. http://www.urgentcare.com/news/telemedicine-services-can-treat-allergies/
Koljonen, J., 2014. MeMD Offers Discounted Telemedicine Visits for Allergy Season, https://www.memd.me/telehealth-company-memd-offers-discounted-telemedicine-visits-for-allergy-season/
Smith, K., 2016. Do You Need to See a Doctor For Your Seasonal Allergies? https://www.memd.me/when-to-see-a-doctor-allergies