When & How to Use Telemedicine if You’re Feeling Sick

March 5, 2020

Updated: 4/28/2020

As viruses like the flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to spread, you should try to avoid public exposure as much as possible. This is especially true when you’re feeling sick or your immune system is compromised.

One valuable resource that allows you to visit a doctor without sitting in a waiting room, exposing yourself to further illnesses and infection, is telemedicine.

How to Access a Doctor Through Telemedicine

Hackensack Meridian Health’s Convenient Care NOW telemedicine program is an option. Register online by filling out a simple form. You can also download the app on your mobile device by searching “Convenient Care NOW” in your app store.

Once registered you can:

  1. Initiate a visit
  2. Select a doctor
  3. Request a video call or voice call
  4. Upload pictures if it’ll help identify any underlying issues

Doctors are available 24/7, including holidays.

When to Use Telemedicine

Telemedicine is a good option when you have mild flu symptoms or have been exposed to the flu to determine if further testing is needed.

You might use telemedicine if you’re experiencing the following minor symptoms or illnesses:

  • mild cough / respiratory infection
  • fever
  • ear infection
  • conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • allergies

For COVID-19:

The CDC recommends that patients at risk for COVID-19 who are not yet showing symptoms or have mild symptoms be evaluated virtually before going to an urgent care facility, doctor’s office or emergency department.

COVID-19 causes flu-like symptoms including cough and breathing difficulty, or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If a diagnosis cannot be confirmed during the virtual visit, the doctor will provide next steps based on your initial screening results.

When Not to Use Telemedicine

For urgent or life threatening emergencies where time is of the essence, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department immediately.

Overall, telemedicine is a great tool to reduce the spread of germs. People can seek medical guidance from board-certified physicians from their own home. This reduces the amount of exposure that happens in the waiting room, through public transportation and to health care providers who evaluate you in-person.

Next Steps & Resources

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.