Worried the doctor's office will make you sick? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Worried the doctor's office will make you sick?

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — With the flu continuing to impact much of the country this season, some people are turning to technology to get the treatment they need.

Many have experienced not feeling well, but also being worried if you go to the doctor or hospital that you'll be exposed to the flu; making you even sicker than you already are.

So, what's the best medicine for your dilemma?

There is a growing trend of virtual doctor visits where a patient speaks to a real doctor over the phone from the comfort of home.

"A lot of our physicians are actually supplementing their practices - after hours, early morning and weekends - by doing tele-help on the side," said Dr. Jason Tibbels, Vice President of Health Services for Teladoc.

Teladoc has seen a sudden spike in users with 300,000 virtual visits over the past five weeks.

Patients' overwhelming concern?

"Influenza - or influenza like illness. 'I think I was exposed. I have symptoms.' Those types of things," said Dr. Tibbels.

Teladoc is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and gives users access to over 3,100 licensed physicians.

The flu is big right now, but other common ailments they treat include skin rashes, allergies, abrasions and pink eye.

Patients can actually take a picture of their problem and send it to the doctor who can write a prescription.

"We can prescribe, electronically, and will even help our members find the nearest pharmacy - pharmacies that actually have the medicine in stock," said Tibbels.

Teladoc is one of several companies now offering this service, but they're quick to add that it's not meant to replace your primary care and doctor-patient relationship.

But in an age where online shopping has made our lives much more convenient, virtual doctors are a helpful band-aid.

"The consumer is ruling the day - and what you've seen in other areas of commerce - we're starting to see in healthcare," Dr. Tibbels said. "Consumers really are speaking loud and clear and the number one driver for consumers is convenience and access."


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