Dear Allergy, Asthma & Food Allergy Centers Patients and Families,
As we informed you a couple of days ago, our professional societies released COVID-19 Pandemic Contingency Planning for Allergy and Immunology on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. We implemented the guidelines in order to continue providing essential medical care for our patients while keeping our community safe. Social distancing remains one of the centerpieces of prevention, and we are minimizing the amount of time patients may have to spend outside the home. We have updated the information regarding telemedicine visits from the blog posted on Wednesday March 18, 2020.
- Anyone who is currently scheduled for a new patient office visit or a follow up office visit through April 3, 2020, will have the option of converting the in person office visit to a telemedicine visit or rescheduling the in person visit to a later date. The telemedicine platform we are using is https://doxy.me/. You do not have to sign up for an account. You will receive a link to the virtual appointment via text message or email, which you should access through your mobile phone, tablet, or a computer with a video camera and microphone. Starting on Saturday, March 21, 2020, the telemedicine visits will be billed to your insurance carrier and appropriate copays (depending on your insurance) will be collected over the phone. We will also read you a verbal consent form, which you can review here (informed consent).
- If you are on biologic injections (ex. Xolair, Nucala, Fasensra), you should keep your appointment as long as you are not acutely ill with any symptoms suggestive of an infection. However, there may be issues with delivery of the biologic medications, so please confirm with our office on the morning of your appointment to make sure we have received the shipment of the medication.
- If you are on allergy shots and have an annual visit coming up at which time you planned on receiving your allergy shots, you can keep that in person office visit.
- Patients currently on allergy shots may also continue to receive their injections in our office. However, if you have been building up once weekly, you may start coming every 2 weeks for your buildup phase during this time period. If you are currently on maintenance dosing receiving injections every 2 or every 3 weeks, you may increase your interval to every 4 weeks.
- If you are having acute environmental allergy or asthma symptoms, please contact the office to schedule an acute telemedicine visit with one of our providers.
- Office based food challenges, oral immunotherapy (OIT) new starts, and OIT dose escalations will need to be rescheduled. Our staff will be contacting families regarding this, so there is no need to call our office. However, if you need more capsules, please make sure to inform the staff member who calls.
- If you are ill with fever, cough, and shortness of breath, have any possible COVID-19 exposures, or have traveled (domestic or international) in the past 2 weeks, please do not come to the office. If you suspect you need testing, please check with the following screening resources:
- MO hotline: 877.435.8411
- IL hotline: 800.889.3931
- Mercy screening: 314.251.0500
- SSM Virtual screening: www.ssmhealth.com
For more information regarding COVID-19, please see the CDC website: http://bit.ly/CDC-COVID-19_info
While COVID-19 is appropriately on all of our minds, allergy season is also upon us. If you have not already started your seasonal allergy medications, you should do so ASAP. In addition, remember to follow routine environmental controls:
- Keep doors and windows closed in your home to prevent pollen from coming inside.
- Keep sunroofs and windows on vehicles closed and use recirculation mode for the vehicle’s air conditioner.
- Bathe or shower and change your clothes after spending time outside during the spring pollen allergy season, because pollen can settle into your clothing and hair. This will also decrease the spread of pollen throughout the home.
We will continue to post updates on Facebook in this evolving situation. Stay safe and healthy.