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An online doctor visit could be your best bet if you get the flu

Telehealth is growing in popularity.

TAMPA, Fla. — More and more cases of the flu are being reported both nationally and locally. And we're not just talking about a cold, but a full-blown case of the flu that can stop you in your tracks.  That's why it's good to know you can stay home and still see a doctor.

If you've ever had the actual flu, you know the difference between that and a cold. Dr. Mia Finkelston is the Medical Director for American Well, a telehealth platform. "The flu is a rapid onset. You feel as if you walked into a wall. One minute you're fine, the next very achy, headache, people really don't want to move. Muscle aches, joint aches, sometimes high fever with it."

And when you feel that bad, even getting out of bed is a major chore.

"People with the flu really don't want to leave their homes and that's one reason telemedicine is such a wonderful option for the to seek care," Finkelston said.

A consultation with a doctor by phone or online video can be done on your time without you getting out and infecting anyone else. "80% of diagnoses are made with a thorough history so talking to that patient, listening thoughtfully to the history of that illness and taking a good look at them."  

A typical teleconsultation lasts about 10 minutes, costs less than an office visit and is often covered by insurance. The doctors can even prescribe medications. "I always say you have to try it, so download the app. And in your area in Florida, Baycare health system has the Baycare Anywhere Telehealth solution. They also have kiosks that are in the Publix in Florida. 

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