Telehealth facilitates care from a distance through electronic information systems. Telemedicine originally delivered care through the telephone system, such as a Dial-a-Nurse line. Today, telehealth encompasses a broad range of electronic delivery systems that include live video chats, mobile health (also called mhealth) apps, online visits, and secure messaging via text or email.
During the current COVID-19 outbreak, many healthcare providers are discouraging people from traveling to a medical office or urgent care facility unless absolutely necessary, since the disease transfers easily from person to person. For mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 or any illness, telehealth services might represent a better, more efficient way to receive initial care.
When Should You Consider Using Telehealth?
Many less-severe symptoms in adults and children—whether related to COVID-19 or not—can be effectively assessed through an initial telehealth visit. These symptoms and conditions include:
- Canker sores, cold sores, and other mouth lesions
- Chickenpox (varicella zoster virus)
- Conjunctivitis (“pink eye”)
- Common cold, flu, and allergy symptoms
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Headaches, including migraine
- Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Insect bites
- Minor injuries, such as sprains
- Painful urination
- Rashes and other skin conditions
- Sinus pain and pressure
- Sore throat
If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, you can use our printable Doctor Discussion Guide below to help you prepare for your virtual appointment.