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Telemedicine (and the ability to engage in online physician consultations), has gained popularity in recent years, with patients citing convenience, increased access to care (especially for rural patients and those with limited mobility), and reduced travel times as being the aspects of this care modality they appreciate most.

But what are the conditions that can be safely treated remotely via telemedicine? Clearly if a patient is having a heart attack, they should dial 911, but what about if they are sneezing and coughing? What if their child is complaining of ear pain at 2 a.m.? In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more as we review some of the ailments that are commonly treated via telemedicine.

  1. Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergy symptoms are considered non-urgent, self-limiting, and easily managed by medications. Patients who have previously been diagnosed with seasonal allergies but need additional help managing their changing symptoms, have questions about medications, or need to attend checkups with their allergists are perfect candidates to take full advantage of the ease and convenience telemedicine offers.

  1. Minor Pediatric Illnesses

As anyone who cares for small children will attest, during cold season it can seem like they catch a new bug twice a month. Normally these illnesses are brief and uncomplicated. Unfortunately, viral illnesses can also infect the fluid in a child’s inner ear, resulting pain, pressure, and fever.

Ear infections, however, are another condition that normally resolves without complication, either spontaneously or with the administration of antibiotics. These features make ear infections ideal for diagnosis and treatment via telemedicine. Choosing telemedicine will allow to keep their sick child resting and recuperating at home without delaying seeking appropriate medical care.

  1. Chronic Illnesses

Patients who deal with chronic illness generally require consistent monitoring and repeated appointments with their medical team. Under the traditional doctor-patient dynamic, patients find their routines permanently disrupted by their frequent appointments. Telemedicine provides a viable care alternative for patients with chronic cardiac disease, chronic pain conditions, diabetes, patients with limited mobility, and patients who are overweight.

  1. Cough and Sinus Symptoms

It’s difficult to know when a cough is just a cough, and when a cough represents a more serious lung infection. Instead of making an in-office appointment for coughs and sinus symptoms, patients can use telemedicine to check in with their providers. Physicians are then able to determine whether a cough or sneeze is uncomplicated or whether concerning symptoms dictate that a patient follow up with an in-person appointment.

  1. Dermatological Concerns

Patients who have common skin ailments like acne, rosacea, eczema, and dandruff can connect with their dermatologist remotely to have their condition assessed and receive recommendations and prescriptions.

  1. Psychiatry

Because psychiatric patients don’t require physical exams from their providers, they are ideal candidates for the telemedicine model. Through remote access, they are able to take advantage of all aspects of care. Some patients, due to conditions like agoraphobia or severe anxiety, may be able to access psychiatry remotely when they would otherwise not be able to attend appointments at all.

Furthermore, because there are regions throughout the country severely lacking in access to mental health care, telemedicine may be especially useful for connecting rural patients to appropriate treatment.

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