The COVID-19 outbreak has affected everyone. From the elderly who have been placed in mandatory quarantine to the children who are stuck at home all day, all of our lives have been interrupted. However, while many businesses have shut down or placed their employees on temporary leave, healthcare professionals are needed now more than ever. But with no public transportation and every minute outside increasing the level of risk, how are doctors and nurses meant to reach their patients? For people in the food allergy community, this is especially important. Food allergies are a genuine and prevalent part of our daily lives, and working together with our allergists to understand and treat our symptoms is not something that can be put on hold.

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Telemedicine, or telehealth, is a term used to describe a situation in which a patient receives healthcare services using technology. In a time like this, with public spaces posing a danger to many people, this type of service can be life-saving. Additionally, for patients who deal with chronic illnesses or food allergies, having the ability to meet with their doctors – in whatever capacity that may be – can allow them to continue with their meetings and treatments, even from afar.

Face to Face Interaction

One of the best parts of modern-day technology is the ability that it provides doctors. Today, many patients are nervous about coming down with COVID-19, so much so that they attribute any symptoms they experience to the virus. Allergists have found that some patients with food allergies get so nervous about the virus that they are convincing themselves their allergy symptoms are actually from the coronavirus. By having the ability to see patients – even if through a computer screen – doctors can better assess situations and help their patients stay safe and healthy.

Remember that several allergists began using telemedicine even before the coronavirus outbreak because of its real-time connection. Telemedicine is a great option in times of worry that doesn’t warrant a trip to the ER.

Lowers Risk

Doctor's offices and ER’s are filled with COVID-19 patients, making most people worried about seeking medical attention. Additionally, many private practices are closed to all ‘non-essential appointments’ or working significantly fewer hours. In cases of food allergies, not having the ability to seek medical attention can be dangerous. However, going to the ER during this pandemic can also be dangerous. Given this, having an option like telemedicine can be a great solution. Whether it be used for emergency meetings, or regularly scheduled appointments, having the option to see a doctor is undeniably important.

Keeps You From Guessing

The last thing you want to do when you fear you may be experiencing an allergic reaction is a guess. Whether it’s guessing if it’ll get much worse, guessing the origin of the attack, or even guessing whether you’re having an attack at all, none of these things should be left up to chance. Having access to a doctor through telemedicine helps ensure that people never have to guess.

Research Studies

There is always research in the food allergy world, with people constantly trying to come up with new treatments or cures. At times, years of work and data go into these studies, and putting that all on hold can ruin the process and mess with the results. While many will argue that telehealth isn’t the best way to continue with the process, it certainly allows doctors and researchers to continue monitoring their patients and ensuring the validity of their outcomes.

Easier Access to Doctors

One of the trickiest parts of going to the ER is the long process. Many people feel that the long wait often doesn’t warrant their symptoms and will thus avoid the hospital altogether. However, with telemedicine, the waiting time can be done from the comfort of your own home – if it’s needed at all. The worry about long lines or the rush when you’re running late to an appointment isn’t a factor anymore. Appointments can be held from anywhere with internet access, and access to doctors is easier than ever. When the healthcare world is overwhelmed, this is especially important for people who may require medical attention that doesn’t have to do with the pandemic – for example, food allergies.

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The COVID-19 outbreak has forced people to come up with creative solutions when it comes to healthcare. With the ER’s overwhelmed, hundreds of doctors in quarantine, and healthcare officials busier than ever, traditional healthcare has been all but unavailable. However, telehealth has made huge strides towards bridging the gap that coronavirus left in the healthcare world. While traditional medicine may still require physical contact, many other services have been moved to online platforms. For the food allergy community, this means that research can continue, and allergists can still schedule appointments with their patients.