Dr. Deborah Mulligan, Chief Medical Affairs Officer of telehealth provider MDLive, says the convergence of flu season and holiday travel season increases your chances of getting sick, especially for Iowans who will be spending time on a plane.
Dr. Mulligan says, “What we learned from one study, by the Journal of the American Medical Association, is that 20% of plane passengers surveyed reported respiratory infections within five to seven days of flying.”
While many frequent fliers fear being seated next to sick strangers, Mulligan says air travel is fraught with chances for catching a bug.
“Any largely-crowded area is susceptible to spreading viruses,” Mulligan says, “security lines, flight gates and boarding procedures all present transmission opportunities.”
For Iowans who do get sick but who don’t have time to visit the doctor’s office, telehealth providers offer a welcome alternative.
Rich Berner, the CEO of MDLive, says virtual doctor visits streamline the process for patients while not overloading clinics and hospitals during the busy flu season.
“The beauty of MDLive service is not only does it provide a great experience for consumers, it’s much more convenient providing care the way they want it when they want it, but it also helps health systems.”
Similar virtual systems like Teladoc enable people to reach a physician for basic consultations through online video, telephone or mobile app. Virtual visits may be as low as $25 and they’re often covered by insurance.