WOONSOCKET, R.I., April 15 As trees blossom and shed their pollen and grasses and weeds germinate in yards and fields across America, allergy sufferers are retreating indoors with seemingly no relief in sight. MinuteClinic, the walk-in medical clinic inside select CVS/pharmacy stores, can help patients breathe easier and take control of their allergies this spring with treatment services available seven days a week, including weekday evening hours.
"It's simple to suggest to allergy sufferers that they stay indoors and turn on the air conditioning, but for most, that's not a practical solution, especially when they want to mow the lawn, plant a garden and or see a child's Little League game," said Andrew Sussman, M.D., President, MinuteClinic and Senior Vice President/ Associate Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark. "MinuteClinic practitioners can assess a patient's condition and recommend an appropriate course of treatment that may include prescription medications to provide relief and clear nasal pathways before they become overly inflamed."
Allergies are one of the most common yet overlooked diseases in the United States. An estimated 40 million Americans suffer from seasonal indoor/outdoor allergies according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
When visiting MinuteClinic - where no appointment is necessary - a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who specializes in family health care sees allergy sufferers. The practitioner provides a thorough exam that focuses on the patient's eyes, nasal passage, throat and lungs to determine the extent of allergy-related irritation, inflammation and blockage. Treatment options may include over-the-counter recommendations such as nasal saline and eye drops along with prescriptions when clinically appropriate. Effective prescription therapies may include antihistamines, decongestants, steroid nasal sprays and anti-inflammatory medications.
MinuteClinic practitioners are trained to diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions and joint sprains are treated, and common vaccinations such as influenza, tetanus, pneumovax, and Hepatitis A & B are available at most locations.
Spring allergy exams at MinuteClinic are $62 and are covered by most health care insurance. A MinuteClinic visit summary, which includes the results of any lab tests performed, is provided to primary care providers with patient permission. Visit summaries are typically sent within 24 hours via electronic medical record, fax or mail.
MinuteClinic is a division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States. MinuteClinic launched the first retail health care centers in the United States in 2000 and is the first provider to establish a national presence, with approximately 500 locations in 25 states and the District of Columbia. By creating a health care delivery model that responds to consumer demand, MinuteClinic makes access to high-quality medical treatment easier for more Americans. Nationally, the company has generated more than six million patient visits, with a 95% customer satisfaction rating. A recognized leader in the patient-centric health care movement, MinuteClinic consistently brings innovation to the marketplace and sets new standards for clinical quality that exceed the national guidelines established for store-based clinics. MinuteClinic is the first retail health care provider to receive accreditation (2006) and reaccreditation (2009) from The Joint Commission, the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, visit www.MinuteClinic.com.