While nearly everyone experiences headaches during their lifetime, understanding the cause of your aching head might not be straightforward. In fact, there are numerous different types of headaches, all with different kinds of symptoms. If you're wondering how to treat headaches you get, you'll need to first know what type you're dealing with. Since 97% of 24 hour urgent care locations operate seven days a week, the staff there will likely be available to help you. While not all headaches will require a visit to a 24 hour urgent care location, some more severe instances (especially if they're symptomatic of more serious illnesses) might warrant it. Consult this guide and if you're ever in doubt, head to the 24 hour urgent care location close to you for diagnostic help.
In today's world, tension headaches have become quite common. They're usually brought on by stress, which is something most Americans are quite familiar with. You'll usually feel a dull ache (rather than throbbing pain)all around your head. You may also feel tenderness in your neck, shoulders, or scalp.
Chronic tension headaches usually require prescription medications and/or a change in lifestyle to reduce stress, but a one-off tension headache may be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. If you take a non-caffeinated medicine, caffeine may help as well. However, caffeine consumption can trigger headaches in some people.
If you've never experienced a migraine before, you should consider yourself lucky. Migraine sufferers know that this is much more than just a simple headache. There are different types of migraines (some come with no headache at all!), but migraine headaches come with a deep kind of pain that can last for multiple days.
These throbbing aches often come with light and sound sensitivity, and many sufferers will become nauseated or will vomit. Nearly one-fifth of migraine sufferers also experience an aura before the headache sets in. This aura refers to visual disturbances like flashing or shimmering lights, stars, blind spots, or zig-zagging lines. Some people even experience tingling or have problems speaking. (Stokes can also come with some of these symptoms, so make sure to seek medical attention right away if you experience these.) Everyone experiences migraines differently, and each episode is usually different; however, they will usually place severe limits on what a sufferer can do during a day.
Dehydration, lack of food (or certain types of it), hormonal changes, chemical exposure, and sleep disruption can be triggers for many migraine sufferers. Those who know they suffer from frequent migraines can take preventative medications if they feel an aura coming on. Once migraine pain set in, sufferers may take over-the-counter medications like Excedrin Migraine or regular headache pain relievers. If these medications don't work, your physician can prescribe triptans (which come in pill, injection, or nasal spray form) to decrease inflammation that may lead to migraine headaches.
There is a type of headache that's even more mysterious than migraines: clusters. Those who frequently wonder what to do about headaches that come at and last for specific times may be dealing with cluster headaches. This aches are severe and are often noted to be a piercing type of pain. They usually occur on one side of the fact at a time; in some cases, swelling, redness, and congestion may occur. Strangely, these headaches can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours but will arrive around the same time of day for a specific period of time (usually for a few months at a time). Many sufferers experience a few of these headaches in a row, but in between these cluster times, they won't have any symptoms.
Spring and fall are common times of year when sufferers will experience headaches, and men are three times more likely to experience clusters. Unfortunately, doctors aren't exactly sure what causes them, but many people find relief through oxygen therapy, local anesthetic, corticosteroids, melatonin, and calcium channel blockers.
These are by no means the only type of headaches out there. Sinus and allergy headaches, hormonal headaches, or headaches caused by too much caffeine (or lack thereof) are also common. No matter the cause or type, you can head to a 24 hour urgent care location for diagnosis and potential treatment.
All across the nation, urgent care centers are becoming more popular due to their convenience, cost, and quality level. But if you've never been to this type of family medical center before, it's understandable that you might have questions pertaining to the level of treatment you'll receive and your overall experience there. Below, we're answering some of the most common questions pertaining to urgent care facilities.
Do I need an appointment to go to urgent care?
One of the great things about urgent care facilities is that they allow you to walk right in and receive treatment without making an appointment ahead of time. However, there are facilities that do offer online check-ins or call-ahead services that can cut down on your wait time even more. While many facilities are open seven days a week (and often for 12-hour periods), you should check ahead of time to ensure your local urgent care is open when you need to be seen.
Should I go to urgent care instead of the ER?
It depends on the situation. If you are having a true medical emergency, you should always go to the emergency room. However, there are a lot of people who choose to go to the ER when it isn't truly necessary. In fact, a 2009 study found that 14% to 27% of emergency department visits could have been handled by urgent care clinics (and save up to $4.4 billion per year in health costs as a result). Flu treatment, for example, or sprains and fractures can easily be handled by the staff at your local urgent care center. For situations that require quick medical attention but cannot be deemed a true emergency, urgent care is usually a good bet.
What do I need to bring to an urgent care clinic?
You should bring your official ID (driver's license, state identification card, etc.) and your insurance card when you come to urgent care. If you cannot bring your card, urgent care staff will attempt to verify your benefits with your carrier (it may be helpful to at least know your plan number). If you are taking other medications, it may be helpful to know them off-hand or bring a list with you, and if you have documented your symptoms, bring this list with you as well. Those who do not have insurance should bring a method of payment with them.
How long will I have to wait to be seen at this type of family medical center?
Wait times for urgent care centers may vary depending on the day or time, but typically, your wait time will range from 30 minutes to an hour. However, some patients will be seen minutes from when they walk in the door. Because of the nature of these facilities, staff members make every effort to make wait times on the shorter side.
Is walk-in urgent care staff comparable to that at my doctor's office?
The staff at your average urgent care facility will include licensed physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, paramedics, nurses, X-ray technicians, and other medical personnel. These professionals have extensive training in emergency medicine, pediatrics, primary care, and even sports medicine. That means that the quality of treatment you'd receive at urgent family medical centers is often very comparable to the level of care you'd receive at a doctor's office.
Will urgent care facilities accept Medicare?
While some urgent care centers will accept Medicare, others are unable to or choose not to accept this type of insurance. It really depends on the facility. At Legacy ER, we cannot accept Medicare. However, because we are connected to an emergency facility, we will never refuse to provide care just because you are insured by Medicare.
What services can I receive at urgent family medical centers?
You can head to your urgent care center for preventative healthcare (flu shots, drug screenings, physical examinations), laboratory services (STD testing, X-rays, other diagnostics), and for non-emergency treatments (for things like colds, allergic reactions, breaks or sprains, infections, or diagnoses of unexplained symptoms). You can often turn to urgent care for anything you'd see your regular physician for.
We hope this guide has answered some of your common questions regarding urgent care. For further information, get in touch with us today.
Winter is coming -- and the flu isn’t far behind. Influenza activity peaks in the winter months, which means that now is the time to get your flu vaccine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there have been anywhere from 9.2 million and 35.6 million cases of flu every year in the U.S. since 2010. While that seems like a big disparity, the exact number isn’t known because influenza isn’t designated as a reportable disease (and many people who contract it never even seek treatment). That said, the flu is not simply a bad head cold. Approximately 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations occur every year because of the flu, according to the CDC, and some Americans will lose their lives during the 2017-2018 flu season.
Want to protect yourself from the flu? Then the flu vaccine is your best option. Unfortunately, as any urgent care clinic or emergency department will tell you, there are a lot of myths that stop people from getting vaccinated in the first place. That's a shame, because you can receive this vaccine at virtually any pharmacy or urgent care clinic.
Keep reading for the answers to some frequently asked questions about the flu vaccine:
Although there are certain medications that can potentially decrease the severity and length of the flu once it’s contracted, no one should take that chance. At best, you’ll be out of commission for a week or so (and miss school or work in the process); at worst, you could be hospitalized or could even risk your life -- all because of the flu.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of the flu vaccine to go around. This season alone, U.S. vaccine manufacturers have estimated that they would provide between 151 million and 166 million doses of the vaccine. The CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine before the virus has started to spread in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for protective antibodies to develop, so early fall is usually the best time to get your shot. But even if you receive it later than that, it’s still better than not being vaccinated at all. It’s important to note that some children (six months to eight years of age) may require two doses of the vaccine in order to be protected.
The CDC does not recommend the nasal spray flu vaccine, as it’s been found to be ineffective. However, the injectible vaccine -- which is designed to protect against three or four of the most common virus strains in a given year -- has been found to be up to 60% effective among the overall population. And no, you cannot get the flu from the vaccine itself. The vaccine is made from dead viruses, which means it cannot infect you. The people who do come down with the flu soon after being vaccinated contracted the virus either before they got their shot or before their antibodies could build up. That said, some people do experience mild symptoms after receiving their flu shot, including fatigue, muscle aches, headache, nausea, and chills. Around 10% to 35% of children under the age of two may develop a fever within 24 hours of vaccination.
Still, these mild symptoms are far preferable to the flu itself. The vaccine is the best way to protect your family and everyone in your community from contracting this virus and the health complications that can stem from it. Seniors, children, pregnant women, and those with long-term health concerns or compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to the flu, but the virus poses a risk to everyone. Don’t wait until the virus starts to spread before you think about protecting yourself and those you love. If you have not yet received your vaccination for the year, contact your doctor, urgent care clinic, pharmacy, school, or place of employment.
Urgent care clinics have continued to grow in popularity in recent years, partially due to the fact that patients can seek treatment options that are both affordable and convenient. When you have urgent medical needs, heading to walk-in clinic is typically a good idea. But while urgent care facilities are often a welcome alternative to going to an emergency center in a hospital or trying to make an appointment with your doctor, that doesn't mean urgent care should be your go-to in every single circumstance -- nor should urgent care be used to completely replace primary care facilities and ERs.
Urgent care is an excellent option when you don't have a primary care doctor.
Whether you've just moved to a new area or need to make the switch from pediatric care to primary care, a lot of people find themselves without a regular physician at some point. And considering that the U.S. will likely need nearly 52,000 additional primary care physicians by 2025 to meet our health care utilization needs, these circumstances will likely become more common in the coming years. If you don't have a regular doctor but need medical help -- to get a prescription filled for allergies or a UTI, to treat a cut or sprain, or to get flu treatment -- urgent care centers are going to be your best bet. Although going to the emergency center is appropriate when situations become potentially life-threatening, urgent care staff members can diagnose and treat minor issues that should not go ignored.
Unable to secure an appointment with your physician? Head to urgent care.
Even if you do have a primary care doctor, that doesn't mean it's always easy to get an appointment with them. When you can't take time off from work for a doctor's appointment or you're told there are no openings for a week or so, you still have options for medical treatment. Unless it's an actual medical emergency, you should not go to an emergency center; you'll end up paying much more than necessary and you'll likely have to wait for a longer period to see a doctor. Walk-in urgent care centers don't require appointments and offer much greater flexibility, which means you can seek medical care after work, on the weekends, or even during the holidays.
However, it's still best to have a primary care doctor.
At its core, urgent care is not meant to totally replace primary care, nor is it meant to address issues that are deemed medical emergencies. It really works best as a supplement to primary care and as a possible alternative to emergency room care. Your primary care doctor will be familiar with your complete medical history and can refer you to specialists, if necessary. And if you find yourself in a life-threatening situation, the ER is the only place you should go. However, for situations that don't necessarily warrant a visit to either your doctor's office or the ER, going to urgent care can be the best solution. While there are countless benefits that come along with going to urgent care, it's not necessarily a long-term substitution for primary care. For most people, having both options will provide the highest level of medical care.
Chest pain can be extremely scary to experience, particularly if this pain is totally new to you. No matter what, it's something that needs to be taken seriously. However, contrary to popular belief, not all chest pain indicates a heart attack or even a cardiovascular problem. In some cases, it's entirely appropriate to go to the emergency room; in other cases, you can receive much more affordable treatment at many 24 hour urgent care locations.
Ultimately, you don't want to take a chance when it comes to this symptom. Still, it may be helpful to know a bit more about the potential causes of chest pain and when it may be appropriate to go to a walk-in urgent care center rather than an emergency room.
When to go to the ER for chest pain:
Should you experience a crushing or severe pressure or pain in the chest (particularly if it moves into the left shoulder, arm, or neck), you should absolutely go to the emergency room. If your chest pain is accompanied by sweating, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, or fatigue, this may indicate cardiac chest pain. It's much better to err on the side of caution and go to the emergency room. To that end, you should not drive yourself to the hospital. Those who experience acute chest pain should chew two to four baby aspirin (or one adult aspirin) as a precaution. Even if it turns out that the pain isn't attributed to a coronary issue, it's better to be safe than sorry.
When to go to 24 hour urgent care locations for chest pain:
In cases of non-cardiac chest pain, it may behoove you to go to one of the 24 hour urgent care locations in your area. Because 60% of all urgent care centers have less than a 15 minute wait time, it's likely that you can get your urgent medical needs met in a shorter period of time than you might in a hospital.
Of course, it can be difficult to know whether your chest pain is life-threatening or not, which is why you should seek medical attention right away regardless of whether you have a heart problem. There are actually many causes of chest pain that have nothing to do with the heart. Esophageal spasms, gastrointestinal disorders (like heartburn or acid reflux), lung diseases, rib joint inflammation, panic attacks, and countless other conditions can cause pain in your chest. Your urgent care physician will take note of your symptoms and run tests if necessary to provide you with a diagnosis.
Generally speaking, if your chest pain is new, has changed (i.e., goes away and comes back), or is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, it's best to go straight to the emergency room. However, if you've been treated for chest pain conditions in the past and don't experience some of those serious symptoms listed, you may find that urgent care centers can provide you with the treatment you need. In many cases, it's best to visit an urgent care center located within a hospital; that way, you'll have access to fast treatment options and won't have to travel far if it turns out you need to go to the other facility.
Legacy ER & Urgent Care
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