Is Connect Care Right for a Cough or Sore Throat?
By William Daines, MD
Feb 3, 2017
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
Connect Care is a great place to get an initial evaluation of a cough. A cough can be a symptom of many possible illnesses ranging from viral bronchitis or post-nasal drip to major issues such as pneumonia. Providers can do an evaluation of your symptoms to help determine how serious the cough is and whether further in-person evaluation is necessary. For minor causes of cough, such as bronchitis, providers can discuss ways to treat symptoms while you recover. Many patients worry that they need antibiotics to treat bronchitis. In fact, bronchitis is almost always caused by a viral infection, so antibiotics provide no benefit, but can lead to negative consequences such as side effects and antibiotic resistance. If a more serious cause of cough is suspected, the provider may advise you to be seen in-person for a full examination and possibly an X-ray.
Connect Care can provide an initial evaluation and, in some cases, treatment of sore throat symptoms. Many patients with sore throat symptoms are concerned about the possibility of strep throat and think they need an antibiotic. In fact, most patients with sore throat symptoms have a virus, so antibiotics won’t help (and might make the situation worse). Because of the possibility of side effects and antibiotic resistance, it has become an important part of patient care and public health to avoid giving antibiotics for sore throat without testing that proves strep is the cause. Providers will not issue a prescription for an antibiotic without appropriate testing, and that testing can’t be done over a video connection. However, providers can discuss medications to help you feel better while we arrange for appropriate testing.
For adults: For patients over age 18, the need for strep testing depends on the nature of your symptoms. A Connect Care provider can help you determine if strep testing is necessary, as well as discuss medications to help control symptoms while you recover.
For children: For patients under age 18, testing for strep is always required as part of a complete evaluation of sore throat. Connect Care providers can discuss where and when you should get strep testing, as well as discuss medications to help control symptoms while your child recovers.
Connect Care is not intended for treatment of emergency medical problems. The American College of Emergency Physicians identifies several important symptoms that should lead to evaluation in the closest emergency department. If you’re experiencing any of the following, please call 911 or go to the ER:
Connect Care is a great way to get care for urgent care issues, but taking care of chronic health issues (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and others) is not our main focus, so our providers do not generally issue refills of long-term medications. If you are in need of a refill of your ongoing medications, please contact your regular provider. If you are new to the area or need a new primary care provider for any other reason, please visit https://intermountainhealthcare.org/find-a-doctor/ to find a provider in your area.
As a matter of law, healthcare providers cannot issue prescriptions for controlled substances without seeing the patient in person. Because Connect Care visits are conducted over video, our providers are strictly prohibited from issuing these sorts of prescriptions. Commonly used controlled substances include medications for pain (hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, Norco, Percocet, Tramadol, etc.), anxiety/panic (alprazolam/Xanax, lorazepam/Ativan, clonazepam/Klonopin, diazepam/Valium etc.), and ADHD (Ritalin, Adderall, etc.). If you are in need of a refill of your ongoing medications, please contact your regular provider for refills. If you don’t have one, see the information above for help finding one.