Winter wellness

November 18, 2019

Nobody has time to get sick, especially this time of year. On top of that, primary care physicians’ offices might be closed for the holidays, and ERs or urgent care facilities can have extra-long wait times. And if you become ill while you’re on the road, you might not have a familiar or convenient place to get help.

Fortunately, your Teladoc benefits include 24/7 non-emergency medical care anytime, anywhere you are. Our U.S. board-certified physicians can help diagnose and recommend treatments for a wide variety of conditions, including flu, sinus infections, tummy bugs, and even back pain. When medically necessary, the doctor can even send a prescription to a nearby pharmacy throughout the U.S.

Terri’s story

A Teladoc member in Texas recalls how she was able to get relief when she got sick during a family ski trip to Colorado:

“Second day, I fell ill…sore throat, earache, generally feeling tired and blah! I tried to tough it out because I didn’t know any doctors. Now I can tell you, with Teladoc you don’t have to wonder what to do when you’re sick and away from home!

“They make it very easy, even when we didn’t know how to use the site. They helped us easily get in, answer the questions, and set up our account. The questions prompt you on what you want to do…’request a visit.’

“Then really quick, I got the call from the doctor, got medicine, and was feeling better! Yes, I highly recommend it!”

Terri, Texas

10 helpful tips

Whether you’re traveling or staying home for Thanksgiving, keep this top 10 list handy to help you avoid illness-causing germs and other common wintertime ailments:

  1. Make a mini-wellness kit for your backpack, desk, or luggage. Stock it with products that can help soothe cold and flu symptoms (tip: Try types that you can chew or easily swallow in case you can’t readily get something to drink):
    • antacid/anti-nausea tablets
    • cough suppressant/sore throat lozenges
    • decongestant medication (pill or spray)
    • expectorant tablets
    • facial tissues
    • non-drowsy antihistamine medication
    • pain reliever/fever-reducer caplets
  2. Protect your skin from dry air, chafing, and wind with lotions made for dry skin (look for ingredients such as cocoa butter, lanolin, or shea butter).
  3. Don’t ignore your lips. Drop a tube of petroleum jelly or lip balm in your pocket or purse. At the first sign of a cold sore, try treating it with an over-the-counter ointment. Symptoms include itchiness, tingling, and an oozing or crusting blister. And remember that cold sores are caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV-1)* and are contagious, so avoid sharing drink containers and eating utensils (e.g., straws, flatware, etc.).
  4. Use a food thermometer while cooking to avoid food poisoning. Make sure that casseroles, leftovers, and dishes containing meat, seafood, and dairy are heated to safe internal temperatures. (Just a thought: If the center of Aunt Becky’s turkey stuffing isn’t cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you might want to opt for the mashed potatoes instead.) The FDA offers a free, downloadable chart for easy reference.**
  5. Wash your hands often, or use hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol when you can’t get to a sink. Even though you’re not sick, you can pick up germs from all kinds of common surfaces, including cell phones.
  6. Wear a disposable face mask that covers your nose and mouth if you’re coughing and/or sneezing, or are living or working close to a sick co-worker or family member. Don’t worry about feeling embarrassed; you’ll be surprised how relieved you’ll feel knowing that you’re not making others sick or are protecting yourself from those who are.
  7. Get a smart thermometer. A fever is an important symptom to help you determine whether you’re suffering from the flu or just a cold virus or seasonal allergies. With some smart thermometers, you can even track family members’ temperatures as well as your own. (Tip: The Kinsa® smart thermometer syncs to the Teladoc app!)
  8. Staying in a hotel anytime soon? Pack disinfectant spray (or buy a can locally before you check in) to clean door handles, bathroom fixtures, light and lamp switches, ice bucket, coffee maker, and even the desk surface and bedding. Coat hard surfaces with the spray and let them dry. For TV remotes and other electronics, fully dampen a washcloth, wipe the surfaces completely, and let them dry.
  9. On second thought, ditch the grungy TV remote altogether and download a TV remote control app such as stayconnect® if you’re out of town. It works at many hotel chains. You can download controller apps for other types of video equipment and services too.
  10. Speaking of apps, be sure to download the Teladoc app. You can use it to request a visit, get a timely notification before your visit starts, and actually see and talk to the doctor. If you haven’t already set up your Teladoc account, you can do it right on the app.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

References

*https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cold-sore/symptoms-causes/syc-20371017
**https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/safe-minimum-cooking-temperature

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