A Doctor Doing Telehealth

Telehealth 101: Where Technology Meets Healthcare

Communications have vastly expanded over the past decade. With the development of video calls and online services, the medical industry has begun implementing telehealth services in clinics all across the country. But what is telehealth all about? For many, telehealth has become a new avenue for healthcare, allowing people to get appointments from their primary care physicians and specialists without leaving their homes. Here, we’ll explore some of the various aspects of telehealth, how it works to help doctors and patients through appointments, and how it improves healthcare overall.

What Does Telehealth Mean?

Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, uses telecommunication to provide care for you even when you’re not in the doctor’s office. As long as you have a phone or device that can access the internet, these appointments are possible. During these appointments, you can speak with your doctor in real-time, send and receive messages from your doctor through messages and emails, and doctors can use remote patient monitoring to check on your health while you’re at home. Patients can receive primary care for many clinics, gain prescriptions, talk to mental health counselors, and gain immediate urgent care right through their device.

Telehealth comes with so many benefits. For patients unable to leave home, or patients unable to commute to their doctor’s office, telehealth can allow people the time and effort they need to care for their health on their schedule. Your doctor can address your health problems wherever you are, and using these telehealth services can cut down on waiting times, allowing your doctor to give you the full-on attention you need to improve your health and get the treatments you need.

How Does Telehealth Work For Families?

For parents with busy work-life schedules, telehealth can help families immensely. Through telehealth, your doctors can schedule appointments with you and your family, allowing you to see your medical specialists and help them diagnose and treat problems from a distance. For families, telehealth provides these benefits:

  • Privacy and Security: Telehealth services should always consider the privacy of your family’s needs. When talking with your primary care doctor, telehealth can easily track healthcare information and keep both you and your doctor checking when handling your family’s needs.
  • Easy Follow-Ups: At the end of your telehealth session, your doctor can easily schedule a follow-up appointment that works within your schedule, so you don’t have to worry.
  • Fun Interaction With Children: For assessing children’s health, your children can be comfortable in their own homes while receiving an initial examination from their primary doctor.
  • Schedule Tests and Exams: If your doctor needs a more thorough exam, your telehealth visit can be a preliminary appointment for your health.
  • Talk About Anything: Within this space, you get one-on-one attention from your primary care physician.

If you’re curious about telehealth services, contact your health insurance company to see if your insurance covers telehealth visits. For more information about telehealth, arrange an appointment with your primary care doctor to learn more.

Woman using asthma inhaler

How Your Physician Can Help You Manage Your Asthma

The respiratory condition known as asthma affects more than 25 million people in the United States, with 1 out of every 13 suffering from the condition. This number accounts for nearly 8% of adults and 8.4% of children. Incidents of Asthma in the US have been increasing since the 1980s across all genders, races, ages, and classes. Throughout this time, a significant amount of research has been put into discovering how patients and doctors can best coordinate to get the most effective treatment, and therefore control, of this condition.

The Origins of Asthma and The Reason Its On The Rise

Asthma has always been with us, but changing lifestyles and environmental conditions may play a role in the steady rise we’ve seen since the 1970s. Asthma is best described as a respiratory condition wherein environmental and other triggers can lead to the swelling of the airway tissues and the production of music that makes breathing difficult. For some, asthma is merely a mild annoyance, while for others, it can be life-threatening. The common signs of asthma include:

  • Blockage of the Airway – This is typified by tightness in the chest
  • Inflammation – Red, inflamed bronchial tubes that can potentially damage your lungs
  • Irritable Airway – High reactivity to airborne pollutants
  • Coughing – Especially when prevalent in the morning or evening
  • Tight Chest – Pain, tightness, and pressure in the chest are common complaints
  • Sleeping Concerns – Breathing issues can make sleeping difficult

There’s a lot your physician can do to help you manage these symptoms and reduce the frequency of your attacks. Communicating with them is one of the best ways to ensure that your condition is getting the treatment it needs to be under control. Some of the results of clear communication with your physician include:

  • Increased satisfaction with the results of your care
  • Better knowledge of your disease and the treatments used
  • Increased ability to manage your asthma and monitor its frequency

Accomplishing this requires both parties to be actively involved in communicating your concerns. If your physician doesn’t seem receptive to an active patient, it may be worth considering other options for your care.

How To Effectively Communicate With Your Physician

Some effective steps you can take to improve your ability to communicate with your physician. The

Institute For Healthcare Improvement compiled a list of the three most effective questions patients can ask when beginning their care. These questions are:

  • What Is My Largest Asthma Related Concern Right Now?
  • What Are My Next Steps To Manage My Asthma?
  • Why Are These Steps Important To See Results?

In addition to these three questions, you should also be prepared to be your own advocate. An engaged and curious patient is one who will see the best results from the care being offered. This inquisitiveness also ensures you know what your medication can do for you, how to avoid triggering an episode, and what signs tell you it’s time to get in to see your provider for an updated diagnosis.

Baby receiving an immunization

How To Organize Your Newborn’s Immunization Schedule

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for vaccinations, if you’ve had a newborn within the last year, one of the biggest struggles you may encounter is when and how you should get your newborn’s vaccinations while also staying safe. The CDC annually publishes recommendations for children’s vaccination schedules each year. The timing and spacing of these immunizations provide the best protection for children to become immune to these preventable diseases.

How Vaccination Timelines Protect The Immune System

Vaccines help stimulate antibodies within the immune system, containing biological preparations and substances used to provide immunity against certain diseases. It is especially important for newborns due to the developmental milestones that they work to reach within the first year of their life. According to resources from the CDC, side effects should be taken into account for every shot received for your newborn, and it’s essential to pay attention to any abnormal signs your newborn may have to each vaccine received, including:

  • Rashes, Tiredness, Headaches, Fever
  • Swollen Throats, Swollen Glands, Weakness
  • Stomach Pains, Loss of Appetite, Vomiting
  • Severe Cough, Runny Nose, Muscle Pain

The CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices meet three times a year to review research on vaccines and make changes to the schedule, and no changes have been made yet to the 2021 schedule. Our suggestions for scheduling vaccines involve preparing these doses that allow the immune system to develop a defense against these diseases over time. By the time your child is 18 years old, your child should get the following vaccinations:

  • Influenza (annual flu shot)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap “booster” for adolescents)
  • Poliovirus (IPV)
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Pneumococcal (PCV)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Rotavirus
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B)
  • Hepatitis A (Hep A)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal (MenACWY)
  • Meningococcal B (MenB)**

You can also protect your newborn from whooping cough by getting the Tdap vaccine through the 27th to 36th week of pregnancy for mother’s pregnant.

Will Covid-19 Vaccine Be Available For Newborns?

So far, there has not been any information presented about whether or not children, including toddlers and teenagers, will be able to take the Covid-19 vaccine until Spring 2021. Because the vaccine has been given to healthcare workers, residents in nursing homes, and those who present the highest infection risk, they can receive the vaccine. For the Covid-19 vaccine, some vaccines such as the Pfizer and Moderna have been approved for those 16 to 18 years of age. Because children are presented as lower risk for getting infected, those younger than 15 will likely be part of the final groups that receive the vaccine. Full pediatric vaccines against the Covid-19 virus haven’t been developed yet, and may not develop until late 2021.

Man opening alcohol with teeth

About Alcohol, The Holidays, and Your Oral Health

Holidays can provide great dangers for our dental health, with the endless variety of rich sweet foods available. One often unconsidered risk to our teeth this time of year is alcohol. For many people, the holiday season involves consuming more alcohol than the rest of the year. This increased intake can put your teeth at greater risk of decay, so maintaining your oral hygiene is more important than ever.

How Young Adults Benefit From Dental Implants

There are several risks that present themselves when consuming alcohol during the rest of the year. The potentially increased intake of the holiday season only increases these risks and makes them more of a concern. Combined with the sugary foods that are available at every turn during this time of year, the following risks come from alcoholic beverages:

  • Sugar Content – The amount of sugar found in most alcoholic drinks can be relatively high. As our oral bacteria thrive on sugar, sweet drinks can pose a severe risk. This may mean you want to reconsider a sugar-rich choice and choose something with a little less sugar in it. Dry champagnes and wines are an excellent low-sugar alternative.
  • Dehydration – Wishful thinking aside, you’re not getting any meaningful hydration from your alcoholic drink. Dehydration can lead to dry mouth, which puts our teeth at additional risk. Saliva plays an essential role in protecting our teeth; in its absence, decay advances faster.
  • Staining – Darkly colored alcohol comes with an additional risk, and that’s potential dental staining. Sangria, red wine, and other darkly colored beverages can dull your teeth and cause lasting discoloration. Whitening toothpaste is usually sufficient to counteract this staining.

There are also the risks of acid damage in the event of overindulgence. If you’ve overindulged to the point that vomiting becomes an issue, the acid involved can cause severe damage to your teeth. This is of particular concern to those with a habit of overindulgence.

Some Final Notes On Drinking Alcohol and Your Oral Health

As with any popular activity, alcohol consumption comes with its share of myths. Some of these myths pertain directly to the effect alcohol has on your teeth. We’re going to take a moment to address some of those below:

  • Beer Doesn’t Stain Your Teeth – Just because most beer doesn’t have a dark rich color doesn’t mean your teeth are safe. While lighter-colored beer does have less of an effect, it’s a combination of the acids in the beer and the malts and barleys that cause staining.
  • Citrus In Your Drink Helps – This is another case of wishful thinking. While citrus in your drink does nothing to prevent them from becoming stained, it can weaken your enamel. Weak enamel is more susceptible to staining.
  • Alcohol Can Prevent Cavities – While some mouthwashes contain alcohol, that isn’t the same experience as drinking an alcoholic beverage. Not only is alcohol potentially more damaging to your teeth, but drinking tends to make the imbiber snack more.
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