How to Get Medical Help Online
How to Get Medical Help Online

by Bev Bachel

I just got back from vacation with my cousin Barb. She works as a program manager, which means she spends the majority of her time keeping minor issues from becoming full-blown emergencies.

Knowing this, I was not surprised when we arrived at our destination to see her unpack a fully stocked first aid kit: ibuprofen, bandages, a thermometer, eye drops and more. Her comment: “Just in case we need to take care of a little irritation before it turns into something that ruins our vacation.”

I also came prepared, but my first aid resided on my smartphone in the form of these three apps.

First Aid by American Red Cross

Cost: Free (iOS/Android)

Cuts, burns and bug bites are just a few of the reasons you’ll be glad to have this first-aid app. Not only does it equip you with the step-by-step know-how you need to handle the most common first-aid emergencies, it comes with helpful videos and interactive quizzes. (And, if you’re a pet lover like my cousin, download the American Red Cross’s Pet First Aid app so that you’re also prepared to take care of your furry friends.)


Cost: $1.99 (iOS/Android)

What should you do if your child has a fever, develops a sore throat or starts to vomit? If you’re unsure, KidsDoc can help. Developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and based on clinical protocol, this app is designed specifically to help you make smart decisions about the level of care your child needs. You’ll find symptom care guides, helpful illustrations and pediatric dosage tables.

Kinsa Smart Thermometer and Health Tracker

Cost: Free (iOS/Android)

This app, when paired with the $14.99 Kinsa Smart Thermometer, effortlessly tracks temperatures, symptoms and medications for each family member. It keeps track of temperature spikes, when symptoms began and when medication was — and should be — administered. Kinsa makes the information easy to share with doctors or other caregivers. You can even join a Kinsa group to find out things like what illnesses are circulating in your child’s school or your own workplace.

Luckily, Barb and I didn’t have any medical emergencies on our trip. Still, it was comforting to know that medical know-how was just a smartphone away.


Freelance writer Bev Bachel lives in Minneapolis and uses her phone to talk, text and email friends and family around the world. She’s the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go For It!

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