Sesame Blog

Welcome to Sesame's medical info center - a trusted medical source of expert-reviewed articles, health tips, updates, and more. Stay informed and get the latest from top doctors online.

Recent Articles

Railroads and… Health Care? Drawing from his personal and professional experiences, Mike Botta, PhD and co-founder of Sesame, reflects on the recent standoff between the rail worker's union and freight rail companies over health care benefits. He details the origins of the conflict and describes how inequalities in our current health care system betray every day Americans -- and what Sesame is doing to fix it. Read more

Rising Health Insurance Costs Employer health insurance costs have been steadily rising over the last few years. Mike Botta, PhD, and co-founder of Sesame details the reasons behind these increases and how Sesame is a high-quality, low-cost, solution for the consumer.
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The End of Amazon Care
From retail to voice technology, streaming content, and more, it seems like Amazon has figured out how to “fix” it all. Except for healthcare. Mike Botta, PhD and co-founder of Sesame, reacts to the recent closure of Amazon Care and details how Sesame is changing the game in direct-to-patient care. Read more

Mental Health Converstation Starters Talking about mental health can be really tricky. We spoke to Dr. Kristen English - a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania with over 18 years of counseling experience - about some conversation openers you can use to open a safe and productive dialogue around mental health with loved ones or friends in your life. Read more

How to Protect Your Skin This Summer While it’s great to feel the sunshine and enjoy the fresh air, we need to make sure our skin (and eyes) are protected when we’re doing so. In honor of National UV Safety Month, we checked in with Sesame dermatologist Dr. Anna Chacon to learn about sun care 101, the biggest misconceptions about sun protection and more. Read more

Preventative Care Checklist Knowing what appointments you need - and when - can be hard. Sesame’s Medical Director, Dr. Allison Edwards, MD, has compiled an easy checklist for people of all ages to see what doctors appointments you should consider scheduling in the year ahead. This list is a general guideline to help you navigate the type of care you might need and how often you should schedule a visit. Read more

Common Age-Related Conditions
Aging is an inevitable part of life, and while aging can come with great benefits, like more free time, increased happiness, and more financial stability - certain medical conditions can also start to appear. Read on to learn about these conditions and how to manage them. Read more

Medical Costs to Expect in Retirement To help patients plan ahead and prepare for rising health care costs in retirement, we sat down with our own Mike Botta, a former White House advisor who has spent over 15 years in health care leadership. He detailed several unforeseen health care costs that people experience as they age, and offered some suggestions to defray and minimize the expense to your personal bank account. Read more

Colorectal Screenings: What You Need to Know Screening tests are routine procedures used to find disease when no symptoms are present. We spoke to Dr. Adam Moskowitz, MD – a gastroenterologist from New York with over 18 years of clinical experience – about colorectal screening tests and why you should schedule one. Read more

Q&A: The Consequences of Not Spending Enough Time Outside
Now that summer is in full swing, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside more often, which is a vital part of your mental and physical wellbeing. We spoke to Sesame's Medical Director, Dr. Allison Edwards, about some of the reasons why outdoor time is so important in your everyday life. Read more

Top 3 Ways to Protect Your Skin This Summer
Do you know what the biggest misconception about sun protection is? Read on. Read more

The Cost of Skipping Medical Care
A new Sesame survey finds that nearly 7 in 10 Houstonians have skipped medical care due to high costs, putting them at risk for poor health outcomes. Read more

Why the Historic Low of Uninsured Americans is Not Cause for Celebration
New data from the National Center for Health Statistics points to a historic low: “only” 8% of the US population is without any health insurance coverage. An improvement? Yes. Something to celebrate? Not exactly. Read more

Advice on how to find an LGBTQ+ friendly health care provider
Finding the right health care provider can be difficult for anyone, but members of the LGBTQ+ community have historically experienced even more significant challenges getting quality care. Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer experience marginalization, discrimination, and inadequate care due to their sexual and gender identities. Read more

Hair Loss During Pregnancy
Pregnancy affects your body in many different ways. It's a huge physical and psychological stressor -- and can lead to unwanted hair loss. Don't panic. This is normal. Read on to learn more about this phenomenon and why you don't need to worry. Read more

The Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water
We asked Dr. Justin Houman – a urologist in Los Angeles – to help us sort out the hype and pin down the real benefits of drinking lemon water. Read on to learn more. Read more

How much does an MRI cost?
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) procedure can cost anywhere from $375 to over $5000. Booking an MRI on Sesame guarantees you the best price imaging appointment near you. The specific cost of an MRI usually depends on where you live and what part of the body is being scanned. Additionally, paying for MRI procedures without insurance can be more expensive than paying for one if you’re insured. Read more

How much does a CT scan cost?
A CT (computed tomography) procedure can cost anywhere from $300 to over $6000. The specific cost of a CT scan usually depends on where you live, and what part of the body is being scanned Read more

How much does a Vasectomy cost?
Vasectomies - also known as male sterilization procedures - usually cost between $300 and $3,000. This one-time out-of-pocket cost may vary depending on your health insurance plan, where you live, the doctor’s office performing the procedure, and whether or not the surgery is an inpatient or outpatient procedure. Read more

5 Tips to Find the Right Therapist
I want to go to therapy…but how do I know where to start?" If you’ve ever seen a therapist (or thought about finding one) this uncertainty may feel too familiar. We hear from patients all the time about how hard it can be to find the right therapist. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. We at Sesame are doing everything we can to empower you to take control of your mental health and find the right therapist. We talked to Dr. Alice Shepard, PhD owner of Mirielle Therapy to get advice on how you can make the search for a therapist easier and faster, and get paired with the right person for you. Read more

The Causes of Low Self-Esteem Merriam-Webster defines self-esteem as “confidence and satisfaction in oneself.” That’s something we can all aspire to, right? It feels good to feel good about yourself! Unfortunately, nearly 85% of Americans struggle with low self-esteem. We asked Dr. Alice Shepard -- a therapist with over 10 years of counseling experience – about this widespread problem affecting Americans of all ages. She offered some thoughts about the causes of self-esteem, as well as some invaluable tips to build up your self-esteem and start to nurture your confidence. Read more

Navigating the Changing Mask Mandates
Recent changes to federal mask mandates on buses, airplanes, and other public transportation have left many people with questions. Should I still wear one? When is it safe to go maskless? Who is at risk? Dr. Allison Edwards, Sesame’s Medical Director, breaks it down for you. Read more

Pollen Allergies 101
When you are exposed to an allergen like pollen, your body prompts an immune response - which causes common allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, itchy or runny nose, and scratchy throat that make allergic reactions troublesome. Most plants tend to pollinate during the spring, summer, and fall, making these especially aggravating times for people who have pollen allergies. We asked Dr. Allison Edwards a few questions about pollen allergies, how to treat allergy symptoms, and more. Read more

Back Pain During Pregnancy: Why It Happens & How to Fix It
Back pain during pregnancy can be no joke. There are so many different reasons that people experience back pain during pregnancy—some of which can be alleviated by things we can do to improve it, and other reasons that are beyond our control until that baby exits. Here's a look at some of the main causes. Read more

Navigating a Nursing Strike A nursing strike is a period of time in which a baby refuses to breastfeed. These episodes are generally temporary and short-lived, but they can be stressful for both the baby and mother. To help better understand nursing strikes – the causes, symptoms, and coping strategies – we spoke to Dr. Fateneh M. Ziari. She offered some thoughts and techniques to help mothers through this anxious time. Read more

The Best Foods to Keep Your Bones Healthy as You Age
We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” But what if we told you that your bones are also what you eat? Doctors agree that what you eat can directly impact your bone health - especially as you age. As we get older, our bones and tissues begin to thin and weaken, which is why it’s so important to eat a diet that promotes overall health and well being. We talked to Cevie Penda Touré, a functional nutritionist, about what foods to eat to protect your bones - and your body - as you age. Read more

When to Get Rid of Expired Medications
Open your medicine cabinet and chances are, you’ll find some expired medication. These leftover pills aren’t just a little old. They can actually be dangerous. We talked to Sesame’s Medical Director Dr. Allison Edwards about old prescriptions, the potential hazards of expired pills and more. Read more

Cold or COVID: What to do if you test positive (updated December 2021)
A case of the sniffles was once viewed as a mere byproduct of the winter months. Now, rightfully so, we’re immediately questioning: what is this? Is it COVID? Is it the flu? Is it just a cold? Symptom checkers are helpful but aren’t the be-all, end-all. The best thing you can do if you or a loved one are feeling flu-like symptoms is to talk to your doctor and get tested for COVID-19. Read more

Saving Money on Health Expenses It seems like all of our essentials cost a little more these days. Many people are struggling to pay their bills and buy the groceries, let alone take care of their health. Too many Americans are either uninsured or are skipping out on medical care due to high out-of-pocket costs. To help consumers save money on their health insurance and medical expenses, We spoke with our own Michael Botta, health economist and former White House advisor, to help consumers better navigate the health system and find ways to save money on their medical expenses. Read more

The Impact of Pandemic Screen Time On Children
A look into how increased screen time during the pandemic affects the physical, emotional, and mental development of children. Plus, several helpful tips about how to decrease screen time in your house. Read more

Holiday 2021 Stress Report: Increase in Anxiety, Depression
As attention turns to a second COVID holiday season, we took a pulse on the state of stress in America to determine most common stressors, impact on mental health and wellbeing -- and how (and if) consumers are seeking out help. Here’s a look at what we found. Read more

Can you Get Dicyclomine (generic Bentyl) Online?
Learn how to get a prescription or refill for dicyclomine (generic Bentyl) online, if appropriate. Read more

Can You Get Sertraline HCL (generic Zoloft) Online?
Learn how to get a prescription or refill for sertraline HCL (generic Bentyl) online, if appropriate. Read more

Can You Get Escitalopram (generic Lexapro) Online?
Learn how to get a prescription or refill for escitalopram (generic Lexapro) online, if appropriate. Read more

Can You Get Duloxetine HCL DR (generic Cymbalta) Online?
Learn how to get a prescription or refill for duloxetine HCL DR (generic Cymbalta) online, if appropriate. Read more

Can You Get Prednisone (generic Deltasone, Rayos) Online?
Learn how to get a prescription or refill for Prednisone (generic Deltasone, Rayos) online, if appropriate. Read more

Can You Get Valacyclovir (generic Valtrex) Online?
Learn how to get a prescription or refill for valacyclovir (generic Valtrex) online, if appropriate. Read more

Can You Get Metformin (generic Fortamet) Online?
Learn how to get a prescription or refill for metformin (generic Fortamet) online, if appropriate. Read more

Can You Get Amlodipine (generic Norvasc) Online?
Learn how to get a prescription or refill for amlodipine (generic Norvasc) online, if appropriate. Read more

Can You Get Levothyroxine (generic Synthroid) Online?
Learn how to get a prescription or refill for levothyroxine (generic Synthroid) online, if appropriate. Read more

Can You Get an HbA1c Lab Test Online?
Learn how to get an HbA1c lab test online, without a doctor referral from a Quest Diagnostics near you. Read more

Can You Get a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Lab Online?
Learn how to get a TSH lab test online, without a doctor referral from a Quest Diagnostics near you. Read more

Can You Get Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Online?
Learn how to get a comprehensive metabolic panel online, without a doctor referral from a Quest Diagnostics near you. Read more

Can You Get A Complete Blood Count Lab Test Online?
Learn how to get a complete blood count(CBC) lab test online, without a doctor referral from a Quest Diagnostics near you. Read more

Can You Get an STI/STD Test Online?
Learn how to get a same-day STI/STD lab test online, without a doctor referral from a Quest Diagnostics near you. Read more

Can you Get a Test for Chlamydia or Gonorrhea Online?
Learn how to get an affordable, same-day gonorrhea or chlamydia test at a convenient Quest labs near you - without a doctor referral. Read more

Can you Get an HIV Test Online?
Learn how to get a discreet, same-day HIV test at a convenient Quest Diagnostics location near you - without a doctor referral. Read more

Can You Get a Comprehensive Female Panel Online?
Learn how to get a comprehensive female lab panel online at a convenient Quest Diagnostics location near you - without a doctor referral. Read more

Can You Get a Comprehensive Male Panel Online?
Learn how to get a comprehensive male lab panel online at a convenient Quest Diagnostics location near you - without a doctor referral. Read more

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¿Es Covid, Resfriado, o Gripe?
Durante esta temporada de gripe, aprenda a reconocer las diferencias entre estas 3 enfermedades. Leer más

COVID Positivo: Las recomendaciones indispensables a seguir (actualizado Diciembre 2021)
La Directora de medicina de Sesame, Allison Edwards, explica lo que debe hacer si usted o un ser querido tiene Covid.Leer más

¿Qué es la telemedicina? Preguntas Frecuentes
La telemedicina ha mejorado el acceso a excelente atención médica. En este artículo, respondemos las preguntas más frecuentes sobre esta manera de cuidado de salud. Leer más