With the holiday season approaching, many people are making plans to visit family and travel for Christmas. With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidelines from stay home (as it was in 2020) to travel safely. However, given that some family members, especially those with young children, may be unvaccinated, how do we do this safely?
The CDC currently recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. Additionally, the CDC advises the following:
- Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
- Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
- Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.
- Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
- If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Using telehealth is one way to ensure that you can travel safely and still have access to your healthcare provider. Employers and health care providers that partner with a telehealth provider can give their employees and patients peace of mind when preparing to travel out of state or out of the country, or if they expect to have a full house with out of town visitors for the holiday season.
How Telehealth Can Prepare Your Employees for the Holidays
During this time of year, the last thing anyone wants is to be stuck waiting in a busy doctor’s office or traveling to visit a physician rather than spending time with family. Telehealth can be a quick and easy option for your employees to limit exposure to people outside of their immediate families and check in with their physician’s office for routine medical needs, or if they need to find out where to get a COVID test prior to traveling.
People with urgent health issues are reluctant to go to emergency rooms and hospitals because many are at capacity with COVID patients and exposure could put visiting family members at risk. Using a service that can triage cases based on symptoms (especially for patients with chronic health conditions) and address those issues saves time and reduces risk. For example, Carehive has an 85% resolution rate without the need for an in-person visit. If a person is unsure whether or not their symptoms are cold and flu related, or if they may be putting family members at risk if they have been exposed to COVID, telehealth providers can review the symptoms and make recommendations — such as the most appropriate way to obtain a COVID test.
Being able to reach out to a provider via a patient portal can reduce stress and save time. The end of the year can also be a busy time, with many people trying to schedule appointments before the new year – and their new deductible – begins. Telehealth technology enables providers to offer quality medical care remotely and allows patients to make the most of their holiday season.
Related: Cold, Flu, or COVID?