Winter's arrival means that colds are becoming more common, and there's little doubt that flu season is almost upon us. But it can be tough for a lot of people to discern whether their symptoms indicate influenza, the common cold, or even a sinus infection. When you simply feel ill but aren't sure how to know what you might have, you may want to seek out medical treatment at an urgent care clinic. Because urgent care physicians see an average of 4.5 patients every hour, you'll be able to go to a family medical center near you, get a definitive diagnosis, and start treatment in a short amount of time. But before you go, you might want to know a bit more about the hallmarks of each of these health conditions. That way, you'll know what to expect.
Typical cold symptoms include...
How to treat it: A cold is a virus, so it can't be treated by antibiotics. Over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms, like a headache or congestion. Plenty of rest and fluids will help your body recover. If you don't see symptomatic improvement after a week, you should see your physician to ascertain whether you might need medical treatment (like antibiotics) for a different type of infection.
Typical flu symptoms include...
How to treat it: Many people feel miserable for more than a week, but catching it early can help. If you think you might have the flu, go to your urgent care center for flu treatment. This can lessen the severity and length of your illness, meaning you won't be as miserable for nearly as long. There are complications that can emerge from failing to adequately seek out medical treatment for the flu, so see a doctor and follow their instructions to make sure you make a swift recovery and don't infect anyone else.
Typical sinus infection symptoms include...
How to treat it: While some sinus infections do go away on their own after a time, you may want to see your doctor for medical treatment that might include a round (or two) of antibiotics. Many experts say that sinus irrigation can help while you're waiting for this medication to help clear up your infection. Decongestants, mucus thinners, and steroids may also provide relief during this time. In rare cases, sinus surgery may be required to drain the affected sinuses.
Staying healthy during wintertime can be a challenge, but when you need help, it's good to know what you're up against. Whether you're dealing with a cold, the flu, or a sinus infection, you can go to an urgent care clinic to seek out viable medical treatment options.
12/19/2017 1 Comment
Recent changes to the U.S. health insurance system have made it possible for upwards of 20 million more Americans to obtain insurance coverage than in the past. But the simple fact that you have health insurance doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always be able to benefit from the coverage. If a physician or specialist is out of your network, you’ll be responsible for the coinsurance payment -- a percentage of the treatment’s full price after your plan's deductible has been met. Therefore, out-of-network care will typically cost more (sometimes a lot more) than comparable care you’d receive from a doctor within your insurance network.
That’s because in-network doctors have entered into a contract with your insurer to accept discounted (also called “negotiated”) rates for patients who are covered by that insurer’s plans. This agreement is actually a win/win for everyone involved. Your insurance company drives their customers to in-network healthcare providers for treatment, and in exchange, these providers offer discounted rates of care to the insurance company. And of course, patients receive high-quality care that’s covered by their insurance company, which usually makes treatment much more affordable and accessible.
Knowing this, the choice may seem simple: always see an in-network doctor. But that’s the tricky part. Some healthcare providers will say they “accept” your insurance, which might make you believe they’re in your network. Don’t assume that’s the case. Unfortunately, some out-of-network providers will use this language to convince you to come to them for treatment when, unbeknownst to you, they don’t have an agreement with your insurer. When they say they “accept” or “take” your insurance, all they’re actually saying is that they’ll accept your insurance company’s partial payment for the services you receive -- not that you’ll get a discounted rate for your care.
In fact, these out-of-network providers can essentially charge you any rate they see fit, and these charges will not go towards your deductible. While your insurer will likely pay for a portion of your care, you’ll then be billed for the difference. With an in-network provider, your doctor can’t do that. In some cases, this difference for which you’d be responsible could be thousands of dollars -- which would be a very unwelcome surprise upon opening your mail.
It’s vital to understand that “accepting” insurance and being in your insurance network is not necessarily the same thing. Just because your healthcare provider says they accept BlueCross BlueShield, United Healthcare, or other insurance doesn’t mean they have an agreement with these insurers to provide you with a discounted care rate.
So how do you know if your provider is actually in your network? Just call the customer service number listed on your insurance card to find out about a specific provider and whether or not they’re actually in-network. The small amount of time it takes to check will be well worth it; the answer could end up saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your next medical visit.
When your body tells you that you need emergency care, you might be inclined to feel a little panicky. And although everyone should have a plan in place if you need to go to a hospital or immediate medical clinic, seniors with urgent medical needs (and their caregivers, if applicable) may need to put in a bit more preparation to get the most out of their treatment. Before you head to the emergency room or an urgent care facility near you, here's what you should know and bring along with you.
Have all medical and insurance information on-hand. This is important for any patient, but it's particularly so for seniors. Elderly patients are more likely to be taking different medications and have specific types of insurance coverage. The quicker you can provide accurate information for staff, the quicker diagnosis and treatment can follow. You may even want to consider putting your medical history, physician information, and allergies in writing (along with your medications and doses). You can keep this information in your wallet or handbag, or even take a photo of it to save on your mobile device. This will ensure that you won't have to waste time filling out a form or struggling to remember exactly which medications you're taking.
Anticipate a wait (or even admission). Although urgent medical clinics often have shorter wait times than emergency departments, you may still be in for a bit of delay (depending on the day or time). And if you go to the ER, keep in mind that emergency department visits have increased by 22% over the last decade. More people waiting to be seen means crowded waiting rooms and potentially long stretches of time before you are seen by a physician. Whether you are a patient or are a family member, you may want to bring some reading materials along with you. You may not be able to use your cell phone in an emergency facility, so bring a book or newspaper that can help pass the time and keep your anxiety in check. If you do head to the ER, it's a good idea to bring an extra set of clothes and some must-have personal items in case the staff decides to admit you or your loved one to the hospital.
Don't downplay symptoms. Many people have a tendency to minimize the symptoms they're experiencing. This is common among elderly patients who know they need to go to a medical clinic but don't really want to admit they aren't in the best of health. If you are a senior who's seeking emergency medical attention, remember that these trained professionals won't be able to help you to the best of their abilities if you aren't completely honest with them. There's no reason to feel ashamed about the symptoms you're experiencing; the more upfront you can be with your physician, the better off you'll be. Family members may have to fill in the blanks for medical staff if their loved one is not totally forthcoming or is unable to accurately communicate their symptoms.
When you go to an urgent care center for a non-life-threatening condition or to an ER for more serious ailments, being prepared for your visit will typically pay off. Not only will your stress levels be lower, but you'll be able to receive the highest quality care in either facility.
Those who have never experienced a migraine may be under the impression that it's "just" a headache. But migraine sufferers understand that this particular kind of headache can be extremely debilitating. These headaches can impact your ability to see, hear, and even go about your daily routine. Getting a migraine for the first time, or suffering from a particularly bad migraine episode, can be scary -- especially if you aren't sure how to treat headaches like these. Fortunately, you don't have to suffer at home or in a crowded ER. You can actually visit your local urgent care facility for quick and compassionate medical treatment to facilitate your recovery.
Why should you visit an urgent care clinic for a migraine?
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