With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping many of us at home, accessing in-person health care services may be a bit more challenging.
Telehealth appointments have become more popular with many health insurance companies making it easier and more affordable to connect with a clinician during the COVID-19 emergency. Beyond virtual visits, when medical issues arise, there may be other ways to access remote care to help you stay on top of your overall health.
Here are a few specialty benefits you may have access to — plus some tips that may help you prevent issues before they start:
Eyes: You may notice you’re spending more time in front of the computer or TV screen with the increased time at home. This may contribute to digital eye strain and cause symptoms such as headaches or a sore neck, shoulders and back. To help prevent these symptoms, consider the following tips:
- Keep your computer screen at least 30 inches away from your eyes
- Rest your eyes every 20 minutes
- Blink frequently to avoid dry eyes
- Use “blue light” blocking screen filters or eyewear
If you’re noticing other changes or challenges with your eyes, you may have access to online retailers who may enable you to order glasses from the comfort of your home, offering “virtual mirrors” to try on different frames. There are also apps that enable you to extract your prescription from your current glasses.
Ears: For the estimated 48 million Americans with some degree of hearing loss, online resources are available to help. If you suspect signs of hearing loss, you may consider using free online screeners. If you’ve already had a hearing test – but haven’t moved forward with treatment – home-delivery options may help make it more convenient to order hearing aids without leaving your home.
While you may have more time for at-home projects, be cautious of exposure of loud noises. Considering the following tips:
- Wear ear plugs or covers when using loud tools like leaf blowers or lawn mowers
- Avoid high volume levels when using ear buds or speakers
- Consider the 60/60 rule of listening to electronic devices at 60 percent of their volume for no longer than 60 minutes
Teeth: If you’ve had to postpone your routine dental cleaning, check to see if your dental insurance offers “teledentistry”. Enrolled dental plan participants may have access to at-home telephone and video consultations for dental advice. In the meantime, consider focusing on these recommended at-home hygiene habits:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Use an alcohol-free mouthwash
- Consider trying a tongue scrapper and water flosser
If you’ve been wanting to improve your smile, but can’t get into an orthodontist, there may be online options to help straighten your teeth. No in-person office visits are required to create teeth impressions for clear aligners.
Body: Many employers offer health and wellness programs, including some with virtual weight loss programs. With gyms and exercise facilities closed, these programs may help motivate you to stay active. Check with your employer or health plan for virtual programs designed to provide personalized, interactive online weight loss support.
Now may be a great time to focus on practicing healthier habits to help maintain or improve your well-being, especially during these challenging times. Considering these tips and virtual care strategies may help you stay on track with your health while spending more time at home. Check your health plan benefits to see what resources may be available to you.