The Advantage of Telehealth During Bad Weather

The massive influx of historic, record-breaking weather that has swept the country has left many communities reeling. Power outages, impassable or treacherous road conditions illuminates how fragile our society is when infrastructure breaks down. Hopefully you have your basic over the counter medicines well stocked along with prescription medicines. You had topped off your preps, food, extra water, and a small indoor safe heater with fuel  in case of power failure.

If you haven’t considered or don’t have a generator check out the Jackery portable power station.. It has USB plug ins to keep cellphones recharged and can take care of basic electrical needs, such as keeping a min fridge cold, running small appliances and even your laptop. You can recharge it via AC outlet, solar panel or car outlet. This could prove invaluable during a power outage, by keeping your phone recharged to monitor weather, check in with family members and neighbors, and if needed, to contact your care provider in case of minor emergency or illness.

Medical preparedness

During inclement weather, you may not have access to in person, non-emergent health care. Power lines or trees may be downed and block the road, snow and ice storms can make a trip to the urgent care or clinic outright dangerous or impassable. Even Southern California experienced blizzard conditions and Portland, Oregon set a record for the second most snowfall to date.  In Oklahoma, tornados have left scores of communities homeless, many injured and without vital infrastructure needed to maintain adequate living conditions. During times such as these EMS workers are spread thin due to wrecks and other health emergencies, road crews can’t keep up with the massive amounts of snowfall and other road hazards. Staying home can be the safest and most prudent thing to do until after the storm passes and infrastructure is restored.

By now you should have medicines that you use on a regular basis, a well-stocked first aid kit and a Jase case (which covers a broad variety of infections) specifically for every member of your family.

Telehealth can help bridge the gap

Sometimes it only takes a phone call to the doctor’s office to answer a question or seek guidance for you or your loved one’s illness or injury. Other times a clinic visit would be preferable, however may not be immediately possible. Telehealth is an effective option for scenarios like this. For example, if your child had been exposed to strep throat while at school and has developed a sore throat while at home for snow days, a virtual visit via telehealth can determine if an antibiotic is needed. A virtual visit can keep you and your child safe, warm and not exposed to the elements.

Telehealth isn’t ideal for every injury or illness, however, if you are stuck at home with no availability to pharmacy or medical care, it is a valuable tool that has proven to be highly successful in diagnosing and resolving minor emergencies and illnesses.

Some common telehealth visits include:

  • Coughs
  • Colds and influenza symptoms
  • Earaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rashes
  • Sore throats
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Sprains or strains
  • Urinary tract symptoms (until you can get to the clinic for an urinalysis)
  • Food poisoning

Non emergent visits can  include chronic illness visits, prescription refills, weight checks, blood pressure checks and review labs.

How to access telehealth

While telehealth can be a valuable tool to access healthcare, nothing replaces the in person visit to your healthcare provider. Telehealth should be viewed as another valuable tool in your preparedness toolkit when healthcare isn’t accessible.

An increasing number of insurances are allowing telehealth visits. Even Medicare pays for telehealth visits. Check with your insurance company for a list of providers that offer telehealth as an option to in person visits.

Most all regions across the United States offer telehealth services as an alternative to in person visits. Check with your local health systems services, your care provider or health department.

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

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Seasonal Allergy Relief

As we emerge from the depths of winter and attention turns to the longer days that spring presents- more time outdoors, sports, gardening, outings to lakes and local parks can fill our leisure time.

Sunny days beckon us to spending more time outside, however many suffer from seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies can make life perfectly miserable. Stuffy nose, swollen and teary eyes, clogged ears, sinus drainage, sneezing and cough add up to some allergy sufferers avoiding the benefits of being outdoors. In fact, seasonal allergies affect 19,2 million adults and 4.2 million children in the U.S.

What are seasonal allergies. And when ae they the most prevalent?

Seasonal allergies are also known as “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis. The immune system kicks into overdrive and overreacts to pollen or other substances. Symptoms happen during certain times of the year, when trees, grasses, and flowering plants  release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.

Spring allergies begin in February and last until the early summer. However, seasonal allergies can happen anytime, depending on where you live and what your body overreacts to.

What are common seasonal allergy symptoms?

  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Puffy, swollen eyes
  • Postnasal drip (drainage in the throat)
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Coughing
  • Brain fog

Some common seasonal allergens and when do they occur?

  • Tree pollen—May, June, July
  • Grass pollen—Depending on where you live – March through July
  • Ragweed- sage, mugwort, rabbit brush, etc- end of August through October
  • Mold—mostly in the fall, or in moist, warm environments and climates

How to control seasonal allergies


Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers

  • Stay indoors on windy days during pollen season.
  • If the air in your home is humid, run a dehumidifier.
  • Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair. This is especially important after mowing lawn or working in the garden
  • Pollen can stick to sheets and towels, dry clothes inside.
  • Wear a face mask when outside.
  • Every city and area of the country has a pollen forecast. It can usually be found on weather apps on phone. In addition, your local tv or radio station may have pollen forecasts.
  • Keep doors and windows closed when pollen counts are high
  • Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
  • Keep indoor air clean- portable Hepa filter devices can clear a room of allergens. These are very useful in the bedroom. Keep the unit on, even when not in the room to help keep air clean.
  • Use air conditioner in home, change filters on a regular basis
  • Damp mop all hard floor surfaces, thoroughly vacuum carpet with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter

Nonprescription medications that may help

Check with your care provider before using any over the counter or alternative treatments for allergy relief. Some over the counter medicines shouldn’t be used with high blood pressure patients, and there are interactions with any drug, over the counter or not.

Oral decongestants. Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Some allergy medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant. Examples include cetirizine-pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec-D 12 Hour), fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D 12 Hour Allergy and Congestion) and loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D). Talk to your health care provider about whether the use of a decongestant is good for treating your allergy symptoms.

Oral antihistamines

Some oral antihistamines list sleepiness as a side effect (diphenhydramine and Chlorpheniramine for example. Be sure to read labels and precautions.

Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a stuffy or runny nose, and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert).cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy), Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy) Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)

Corticosteroid nasal sprays. These medications improve nasal symptoms. Examples include and triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour). fluticasone propionate (Flonase Allergy Relief), budesonide (Rhinocort Allergy) and triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour. These are not recommended for long term use without medical supervision.

Cromolyn sodium nasal spray (Nasachrom). decreases inflammation in the nose and reduces substances in the body that release that cause allergy symptoms.

Try some home relief remedies

Neti pot

Neti pots can rinse sinuses out, clearing allergens in nasal cavity. They have a proven track record to relieve allergy symptoms. Use saline solutions from ready made pouches or if you use water, only use distilled /sterile water.  Do not use tap water, there have been rare cases of infections from bacteria or protozoa in tap water. It may be safe to drink because stomach acid will kill pathogenic bacteria, however sinuses don’t have that protection. Be sure to thoroughly clean and air dry neti pot after use.

Raw honey, royal honey, propolis

Raw honey has been proven to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Start honey before allergy season before allergy season starts. Do not use in children under a year old.

Natural antihistamines are found in:

  • Stinging nettle,
  • Butterbur, a marsh plant
  • Quercetin, found in citrus fruits, grapes, apples and onions along with other fruits and vegetables
  • Bromelain, found in pineapples


Probiotics have been studied and have shown to relieve allergy symptoms. L Casei is a probiotic demonstrated to relieve allergy symptoms, It is found in kefir, a cultured milk product and in a lesser extent yogurts(check labels). There are other probiotics that have been researched and have positive results, however there have been mixed results.

When home remedies aren’t enough, Seek help from your healthcare provider.

If you have bad seasonal allergies, speak with your health care provider if your seasonal allergies aren’t relieved by the above methods or your symptoms are bad. They may recommend skin tests or blood tests to find out what allergens trigger your symptoms. This will enable your care provider to target which treatments are likely to work best for you.

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

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