Pink Eye, Lice, and Strep. Oh My!

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It seems like kids are constantly battling illnesses. Whether it’s the stomach bug being passed around the 2nd grade or runny noses, our little ones keep going ‘round and ‘round the merry-go-round of runny noses and sick days.

What's more, 39% of mothers with sick kids have to miss work to take care of them. So while you feel like you’re following the yellow brick road to the doctor’s office at least once a month, it’s time to fight back against the illnesses that are keeping our kids out of their desks (and us at home). The most common illnesses children face can be treated easily via telemedicine.

Pink Eye

The impact of itchy, oozy pink eye reaches far and wide. It is the number one reason kids miss school, with more than 3 million absences credited to pink eye every year. Pink eye can be caused by bacteria, viruses, irritants, STDs and even allergies. It is the inflammation of the lining of the eyelid and the white (conjunctiva) of the eye. Common symptoms are redness of the eye, increased tear production, yellow discharge and itchiness.

On top of the discomfort of the symptoms, pink eye is extremely contagious––which means you may end up staying home a week by the time it cycles through the entire family if you don't seek medical treatment early enough.

Prevention is the only protection: Once one pink eye infection has been diagnosed, precautions to prevent its spread include frequent hand-washing and ensuring that those infected don’t touch their infected eye.

Pink eye can be spread simply by an infected person touching his or her eye and touching something else prior to washing his or her hands. Another person who touches the same object and then touches his or her eye has a high likelihood of contracting pink eye as well. If a child is infected, it is critical to ensure constant hand washing or hand sanitizer and to limit how many things he or she touches around the house.

Simple Treatment is Minutes Away: The good news is that pink eye is easily diagnosed and treated via telemedicine. The treatment varies depending on the cause of the conjunctivitis, but may include warm compresses, allergy medications, over-the-counter eye drops or prescription eye drops.

When you utilize your telemedicine benefits for diagnosis and treatment of pink eye, you can get diagnosis and treatment in a matter of minutes so your kids can get back to school and you can get back to your life.

Lice

Lice is a parent's worst nightmare––especially with the emergence of so-called "super lice" across the United States in late 2015 and early 2016. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 3 to 6 million cases occur every year in children between the ages of 3 and 11 years old.

Treatment is Simple: Lice spread quickly in schools, where children share lockers and their coats and hats often end up near each other. It’s not uncommon for entire classrooms to be infested by these little pests.

Head scratching is a telltale symptom and, if untreated, infestations can become harder to treat. Parents and teachers can identify lice simply by looking at the scalp or combing through the head of a child to find lice or their eggs. Treatment of most head lice involves over-the-counter remedies, but super lice are resistant to OTC treatments and require a prescription.

In minutes, a physician can diagnose and treat lice over the phone and advise you on how to prevent the spread in your household.  

Strep Throat

Strep throat is as painful as it is miserable and inconvenient. Students should stay home from school until they have been on antibiotic treatment for at least 24 to 48 hours, which is why early diagnosis is vital. Strep is the cause of sore throats for 15 to 40% of children and 5 to 15% of adults and is characterized by sore throat, fever, headache and sometimes nausea and vomiting.

Diagnosis is minutes away: In most cases of strep, a diagnostic throat swab (quick strep test) or a culture may be needed to be certain of the diagnosis. However sometimes treatment is prescribed on a “presumptive” basis. First Stop Health telemedicine physicians can advise you whether you can get treatment over the phone or will require an in-person examination. Wouldn’t it be great to avoid going to the doctor or urgent care if you can avoid it? The treatment for strep throat is typically antibiotics, saltwater gargles, rest and increased fluid intake until symptoms subside. If antibiotics are recommended via telemedicine, they can be prescribed to your pharmacy of choice.

With an office visit and prescription antibiotics, the out-of-pocket expense can range from around $20 to more than $200. But by calling First Stop Health at the first sign of strep, you may be able to avoid the lion’s share of that cost.

The Diagnosis

There are a lot of germs floating around a house, especially when your kids go back to school. Many illnesses can be diagnosed and treated in minutes using your telemedicine benefits. When illness strikes your household (pink eye, lice and strep, oh my!), we have your back.