May 31 2018

How to make it through allergy season

Runny nose. Scratchy eyes. Seemingly endless sneezes and sniffles and throat clears. Yep, we’re in the throes of that sluggish, congested, brain-foggy time of year: Spring allergy season.

And unfortunately, looking at the pollen forecast for the next couple weeks throughout Colorado — in counties like Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, and El Paso — it doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. (Sorry to be the bearers of bad news).

But here’s the good news: There are simple, cost-effective ways to alleviate your allergy symptoms, and your Friday health plan can help out along the way.  

First off, though: What exactly are we having allergic reactions to in Colorado?

Allergies are genetic, passed down from generation to generation, and different people are allergic to different things. But in Colorado, there are a few main culprits of outdoor seasonal allergies in the spring and early summer.

Trees are the major allergens in the spring (juniper trees, as well as poplar, cottonwood, aspen, elm, maple, alder, and oak trees). They typically start pollinating in February and continue through June, so we’re (hopefully) at the tail end of it. Grass pollen season, however, generally starts in May and continues through August. Sigh.

Oh, and weed pollen starts around early July and will stick around through September. So if you happen to be allergic to all three of these, you might be in for a naggingly long allergy season.

However, the only way to really know what you’re allergic to for sure is to see an allergist and get tested.

What can we do to avoid allergens?

Unfortunately, the best way to avoid allergens is the most obvious and least ideal way: stay indoors ): Roll up the windows when you’re driving and keep the windows shut in your house.

Wearing sunglasses and a hat while you’re outside can help keep the pollen out of your hair and eyes. And hopping in the shower as soon as you get back indoors can help clear pollen grains from your skin and hair.

What medicine can we take?

There are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can be helpful in relieving allergy symptoms, with nasal spray being the most effective, according to top allergists.

But first, be sure to confirm you actually have allergies by seeing an in-network allergy specialist and getting tested.

Is a visit with an allergist covered with my Friday health plan?

Yep. Allergists are considered “specialists.” While you do not need a referral from your primary care doctor to see an allergist, you must see an allergist who is in the Friday Health Plans network, otherwise you won’t be covered. Find one here.

The cost of seeing a specialist varies based on your specific Friday health plan, so be sure to review your plan details on your member portal before your visit, or give us a call.

I’ll book an appointment with a allergist, but in the meantime: I. Am. Struggling. What are other options for getting help with allergy relief?

Totally hear ya! If you want help fast to relieve symptoms while staying in the Friday network, you have a few great options.

Option 1: Teladoc

Teladoc is an incredibly fast and effective service that allows you to speak with a doctor by phone, web, or mobile app in under 10 minutes. Teladoc is designed to handle a wide-range of non-emergency illnesses, like sinus problems and allergies.

They can prescribe medications and will let you know if you need to see a doctor in-person or follow up with any additional visits.

Best of all? Teladoc is a service that comes with every Friday health plan for a $45 flat fee. Access Teladoc here.

Option 2: Urgent care

As a Friday member, you have access to a great network of urgent care facilities, for a $75 flat fee*.

Throughout Colorado, we have dozens of convenient urgent care centers you can visit. See the comprehensive list here.

Option 3: DispatchHealth

DispatchHealth is an on-demand urgent care service that comes to you and delivers care in the comfort of your own home for a $75 flat fee.* Currently serving Friday members in the greater Denver Metro and Colorado Springs areas. Check out DispatchHealth here.

*Not the price for Catastrophic plans or HSA plans, you must meet your deductible first, then your co-insurance kicks in.

Have any questions?  

Give our friendly, Colorado-based customer service team a call: 800-475-8466 or shoot us an email at: Questions@fridayhealthplans.com. Health insurance can be complicated, and we’re happy to help!

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