If there was an award for “most time-efficient mom in the Twin Cities,” one contender would surely be Sarah, who was on her way to the family’s summer cabin recently when she noticed her son’s left eye was red and crusty.
“I was concerned, of course, but I really didn’t want to turn around and go home to see his doctor.” That’s when Sarah remembered OnCare, an online health clinic that anyone can use.
While her husband fought traffic, Sarah logged in from her smartphone. She answered a few questions about her son’s symptoms and in less than hour, a Fairview provider diagnosed her son with pink eye and gave great advice on how to best treat it, what to do if the problem got worse and tips to keep the infection from spreading to other family members.
People who suspect they have pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, are among the most common users of OnCare, says Dang Tran, MD, vice president of medical practice for Fairview Clinics. “The good news is that typically, pink eye is not dangerous; most often, it is caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold, or from allergies.”
Common symptoms may include:
While it can look dramatic, pink eye rarely affects vision and often goes away on its own. Since most cases are caused by a virus, antibiotics are rarely prescribed to help clear the infection.
“That doesn’t mean pink eye should be ignored,” Tran added. “The condition is highly contagious, up to two weeks after symptoms begin, so getting a diagnosis and treatment protects those around you. And if it doesn’t get better after a few days, it’s possible (but rare) that the symptoms indicate something more serious.”
“Contact lens wearers, in particular, should pay attention” to pink eye and stop wearing the lenses until the infection is gone,” Tran said. “Anyone experiencing pain or blurred vision should seek care immediately.”
Quick, expert care
OnCare is quick, easy and gets people on the road to recovery without a trip to the clinic. In rare cases where face to face care is most appropriate, you are not charged for the session. Besides pink eye, you can receive care for about 70 common conditions, including sinus infections, tick bites and bladder infections. You can log on 24/7 and receive a response in an hour or less from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.