Should I Visit An Urgent Care Center For The Flu
If you are not in a high-risk group and only have mild to moderate flu symptoms, you can visit an urgent care center for treatment. Visiting an urgent care center allows you to be seen more quickly and have your medical needs met while still leaving the emergency room available for life-threatening emergencies.
What Is Urgent Care And When Should You Use It
Should the cut on your finger or the pain in your chest send you to the emergency room or an urgent care center? Its difficult to be sure. So were making matters easy by providing this clear-cut description of where to go for the care you need.
Life-threatening emergencies, such as a heart attack or serious head injury, require a visit to the emergency department, also called the emergency room . An illness or injury that does not appear to be life threatening but cant wait until the next day should be treated at an urgent care center.
Urgent care centers provide easy access to quality healthcare for the times when your primary care physicians offices are closed. At Mount Sinai, our medical expertise and commitment to personalized attention ensure that patients with urgent health needs receive the very best care days, nights, weekends, and most holidays.
If My Child Has The Flu When Should I Call The Doctor
The flu can usually be treated at home with rest and liquids, but complications can be serious for certain children. If you are concerned about your childs flu symptoms, but they are not emergency warning signs, contact your pediatrician first as they know your childs medical history and specific needs. If your child is lethargic, has a fever for more than three days or is having trouble taking liquids, contact your doctor.
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A Doctor Will Usually See You More Quickly At Urgent Care
Since emergency rooms prioritize life-threatening health problems, urgent care can get you in and out more quickly if you have a minor medical concern. the ER, patients often wait hours to be seen for their potentially non-life-threatening concern, Alexis Halpern, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, tells SELF.
There are even some technology-based urgent care services where you can see a provider ASAP, such as NYU Langones Virtual Urgent Care center. For $126 , people in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania can book appointments to see an NYU Langone doctor virtually for nonemergency concerns.
Were going to go ahead and emphasize that nonemergency bit. If you need care for a concern that feels like a serious threat to your health, the emergency room is a better option than virtual or even IRL urgent care. Also, emergency rooms are open 24/7, whereas many urgent care centers are closed late at night, Dr. Tan says. They do typically stay open later than doctors offices, though.
When Should You Go To The Hospital With The Flu
Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.
Every time flu season comes around, thousands of people flood hospital emergency rooms with flu symptoms. In particularly severe flu seasons, we see everything from very long wait times to hospitals setting up temporary triage tents outside just to deal with the flu, to emergency departments turning people away who aren’t experiencing life-threatening illness or injury. Flu season always takes a toll on our hospitals and emergency rooms, but many of the people who rush there for treatment don’t really need to.
There are a variety of reasons explaining why people go to the emergency room when they have the flu, including feeling so bad they think there could be something seriously wrong, not having insurance, and the belief that the ER is the only place they can be treated without paying first. It is an enormous problem that stretches this country’s already strained healthcare system even thinner.
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Is The Flu An Emergency
Not usually. Influenza, the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory system. It spreads through fluids produced when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes.
The CDC recommends that children and teenagers under the age of 18 years who have the flu or suspected flu should not be given aspirin or any other salicylate products like Pepto Bismol, due to the risk of developing a rare, serious complication called Reyes Syndrome.
Although it resembles the common cold, the flu is caused by different viruses and can result in severe symptoms that appear suddenly and last for one or two weeks.
While it is not typically an emergency, untreated flu symptoms can result in pneumonia and inflammation of the brain or heart, so it is wise to seek treatment from your doctor or an urgent care facility if you have more than a mild case or you are in a high-risk group.
If your symptoms are mild, stay home. Remain at home until 24 hours have elapsed without fever or fever-reducing medication. If you are worried about your symptoms, dont hesitate to call your healthcare provider.
When Should Your Child Go To Urgent Care For Cold And Flu Symptoms
Every year, between 5% and 20% of the American population will get the flu.
The majority of those people will recover on their own with some bed rest and fluids. But, for children, the consequences of the flu can be far more severe.
Knowing when cold and flu symptoms warrant a visit to urgent care is essential to caring for your child. As flu season kicks in and the potential for your child becoming ill increases, its imperative that you know the difference between regular symptoms and those that put your child in harms way.
Keep reading to learn more about the seasonal flu, how it affects children, and how to keep your child safe this cold and flu season.
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When To Go To The Er
Fever and cold symptoms can turn into influenza symptoms if you arent feeling any better as the days progress, or if the symptoms quickly escalate. In addition to typical common cold symptoms , high fevers in adults are usually a good indicator of a viral cold or potential flu.
Adults with a sustained fever of more than 102 degrees, as well as any combination of the below flu-like symptoms, should seek medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe chest or stomach pain
- Vertigo and lightheadedness
When To Go To The Doctor For Flu Symptoms
If you have the flu, antiviral medications may be an option if you visit your doctor within 48 hours. However, studies show these drugs only shorten the duration of illness by one day or less and they may come with serious side effects.
“Rather than visiting a doctor or urgent care center to get a prescription, the general advice for otherwise healthy people is to take over-the-counter medications to manage your symptoms, stay in bed, and drink plenty of fluids,” says Dr. Sam Torbati, co-chair of Emergency Medicine at Cedars-Sinai.
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What Are The Emergency Warning Signs Of Flu
- Myositis or rhabdomyolysis
- Multi-organ failure
- Aggravation of chronic medical problems
- Ribs pulling in with each breath
- Chest pain
- High fever
- Any fever for babies less than 12 weeks
- Fever or cough that improves and then returns or worsens
- Worsening chronic medical conditions
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Dizziness or confusion
- Fever or cough that improves and then returns or worsens
- Worsening chronic medical conditions
How The Flu Has Hit Pierce County
Flu has been elevated in the state and county for several weeks, and activity is now high. We are seeing increased visits to urgent care, emergency departments, and more hospitalizations. We have reports of five flu-related deaths in Pierce County so far in the 2019-2020 flu season.
People age 65 or older or very young childrenunder age 5, but especially under age 2are at higher risk for flu-related complications. Other high-risk categories include people with:
- Lung problems.
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Protecting Others When Youre Feeling Ill
When you have a fever, it is important to be conscious of the health of others. Try to keep your sickness from spreading, especially to children or the elderly. Limit contact until a doctor determines that you are no longer contagious.
Since most fevers are caused by contagious illnesses, it is best to stay home from work and avoid social functions. Also, the flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours. Clean surfaces around your home thoroughly to avoid passing a virus to others.
Midday Is The Best Time To Go To The Urgent Care
You can’t control when you get sick or injured, but if you can, try to head to urgent care late morning or early afternoon. Wait times are often longer in the early morning and around dinnertime since most people tend to go to urgent care right beforeor after work or school. Before you leave, check wait times for Allina Health Urgent Care locations.
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If You Get The Flu When Should You Go To The Er
Emergency rooms around the U.S. are crowded with flu patients as the country experiences one of the most intense flu seasons in years, according to news reports. But if you do catch the flu, how do you know if you need to go to the ER?
Most patients with the flu will recover on their own without medical care. But in some cases, the flu can be life-threatening, and so it’s important to know how to recognize signs of a flu emergency, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians .
“Most people with flu typically do not require emergency care, but this season’s disease strain is much more active than previous years,” Dr. Paul Kivela, president of ACEP, said in a statement. “Public health experts project that tens of thousands of people could suffer flu-related deaths.”
“If you have emergency warning signs or complications, go to the nearest emergency department immediately,” Kivela said.
According to ACEP, signs that the flu requires emergency care for adults include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- Chest pain or abdominal pain.
- Sudden dizziness.
- Flu-like symptoms that appear to get better, but then return with a fever and worse cough.
- Swelling in the mouth or throat.
In children, emergency symptoms include:
Fast breathing or trouble breathing.
- Bluish skin color.
- Not waking up or not interacting.
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held.
- Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with a fever and worse cough.
- Fever with a rash.
Can You Treat The Flu With Medicine
If your flu symptoms are on the more serious side you may need antiviral drugs prescribed by a doctor. Antiviral drugs will speed up the recovery process by helping your body fight off the infection. They may also reduce the risk of further complications associated with the flu such as dehydration or bronchitis.
If a doctor does not prescribe antiviral drugs you can help reduce discomfort by taking over the counter medicines like Tylenol.
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What You Can Do For The Flu
If you do get the flu, avoid contact with others for 5 to 7 days from the onset of symptoms. You can still be contagious without a fever.
While youre recovering from the flu, make sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. You can also take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to reduce your fever and relieve aches and pains
The Differences Between A Cold & The Flu
The biggest difference between a common cold and the influenza virus is the severity and duration of symptoms. You may experience coughing, sneezing, and headaches with both, but flu symptoms will usually be more severe. Colds also tend to come on at any time of the year, whereas the flu is mostly seasonal. If your symptoms last longer than a few days, you probably have the flu.
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Make Fastmed Your Flu Shot Clinic
If you havent already, get a flu shot at your earliest convenience. Make FastMed your flu shot clinic. All FastMed clinics offer shots throughout flu season, with no appointment necessary.
Also, if you do fall ill, your local FastMed can help. Our friendly staff will treat the flu and prevent its spreadoften much faster and less expensively than most emergency rooms can.
What Is Not Covered By Medicare
As a Medicare beneficiary, youll usually be covered if you visit an urgent care center. Other than a coinsurance or deductible, the most common cost will be for any medications prescribed to you. Original Medicare doesnt offer prescription drug coverage. You can get medication coverage with a separate Part D plan or as part of your Medicare Advantage plan.
You may pay higher costs up front if you choose an urgent care center or provider that doesnt participate in Medicare. Most urgent care centers do accept Medicare. Even if you go to one that doesnt, you have the right to receive care. In this case, the urgent care center will just need to send some additional paperwork to Medicare.
Still, its easier to choose an urgent care center that accepts Medicare. If it doesnt, you could be asked to pay the full amount out of pocket at the time of service. Youll be reimbursed when Medicare processes the claim.
Will Medicare reimburse me for an urgent care visit?
If you visit an urgent care center or see a physician there that doesnt participate in Medicare, you can be reimbursed for the out-of-pocket cost. You will likely need to pay the full amount up front, then file a reimbursement claim with Medicare.
Youll need to submit the following items:
- a receipt showing the amount you paid
- a letter explaining that the urgent care center didnt accept Medicare coverage
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What Is The Flu
The flu or influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a viral infection. The virus attacks the lungs, nose and throat and causes mild to severe symptoms.
The flu is most often spread through tiny droplets created when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. These droplets of moisture contain the infection. Infection occurs when the droplets are transferred to another person through the air or by transfer contact such as touching a surface with contagious particles and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes. The influenza virus can live on surfaces up to 24 hours after contact.
Children are more susceptible to contracting the flu, however, people of all ages can be infected.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Cold
Typical symptoms of a head cold include coughing, sneezing, and headache, often accompanied by sore throat, stuffy nose, fever, and fatigue. Although usually mild, symptoms can progress without proper precautions.
For severe cold symptoms or those that last longer than a few days, visit a FastMed. You may be experiencing the flu, a sinus infection, or other more serious illness.
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Were Here For Emergencies
You know your body better than anyone else. If your fever and cold symptoms just arent going away, and youre concerned it might be the flu, were here to help. The Wesley EmergencyCare Network has five convenient emergency room locations open 24/7, including:
- Wesley Medical Centers main ER
- Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER
- Wesley Derby ER
- The regions only dedicated pediatric ER
All of Wesleys emergency rooms provide average wait times. Wait times are updated every 30 minutes and are based on a rolling four-hour average provided by Wesleys patient information management.
If you ever feel like you are not physically well enough to go to the ER, or if doing so would put yourself or others in danger, please call 911.
You Still Need Your Primary Care Provider
While urgent care can care for you quickly when you are sick or injured, it doesn’t replace your primary care provider. Having a provider you see regularly ensures that someone is looking out for your future health, like making sure your immunizations are current, preventing or controlling chronic conditions, managing medications and discussing health screenings, like mammograms. Urgent care providers can help you establish care with a primary care provider or schedule a follow-up visit, sharing the electronic record of your visit. This assures your provider is already familiar with your test results and treatments.
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What Causes The Flu
The flu virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets, or when you breathe in germs transmitted in the coughs or sneezes of someone who has the flu. It is also spread when you touch something with the virus on it, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. This is why its important to cover your cough, frequently wash your hands, and stay home if you are experiencing any flu symptoms.
The typical incubation period for the flu is one to four days, with symptoms lasting anywhere from a few days to over a week. Adults can be contagious anywhere from the day before symptoms begin to 10 days after symptoms first appeared. The flu spreads quickly and easily, often striking a particular community all at once. Students or workers who havent received a flu shot generally become sick within two or three weeks of the flus arrival in a school or workplace.