Hampton Roads Allergy Sufferers Can Log on for Relief

Sentara MDLIVE Helps Families Cope with Allergies this Spring

Allergy season has arrived, bringing telltale yellow pollen-covered cars and a battle against itchy eyes and runny noses. The 2013 Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American ranks two Virginia cities (Virginia Beach and Richmond) among the top 22 cities in the US in their “Spring 2013 Allergy Capitals” list (allergycapitals.com).

Over-the-counter medications, including saline nasal sprays as well as antihistamines currently available are often sufficient to effectively control the symptoms of hay fever, says Kimberly Smith-Griffin, M.D., a physician with Sentara Internal Medicine Physicians in Chesapeake.

Smith-Griffin also recommends taking a shower and putting on fresh clothes after being outside for any length of time to avoid even more exposure to the yellow stuff. When over-the-counter medications aren’t controlling the symptoms, Smith-Griffin recommends consulting a doctor.

Families struggling with the spring allergy season have a new high-tech tool in the battle. The telehealth service, called Sentara MDLIVE, offers patients easy and immediate access to a team of board-certified physicians licensed in the state of Virginia, via Webcam, phone or email. These doctors can diagnose allergies and prescribe necessary medications during the “virtual visits” – saving patients a trip to the doctor’s office.

“The good news is that there are effective allergy treatments available for adults and children. Sentara MDLIVE allows you to receive the care you need whenever it’s most convenient,” says Smith-Griffin, who also takes call for Sentara MDLIVE.

The service is available to all Virginia residents (and nationwide) and the visits are often covered by insurance providers. If not, the cost of a visit is $45 —  significantly less than an ER or Urgent Care visit.

Sentara MDLIVE is not limited to seasonal allergy ailments; patients can use the service for any non-emergency condition including a cold or flu, sinus infection or mild respiratory problems.

How does it work?

Sentara MDLIVE visits are covered for Sentara employees covered by Optima Health insurance – learn more by logging onto your optimahealth.com account.

Or you can log on to www.mdlive.com/sentara or call 1-800-335-4836 to get started. You’ll consult with a board-certified doctor using your computer and a webcam or the telephone. Virtual appointments are usually scheduled within minutes of registration and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Amy Sandoval

I am a corporate communications consultant for Sentara, engaged in telling our community benefit story as well as working with Sentara Medical Group and Sentara College of Health Sciences. I am also a mom, photographer and social media addict. You can follow my Tweets at www.twitter.com/amiesandoval.

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