Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Care – Going For Flu
During the flu season, patients often seek treatment for the cold and flu symptoms. Some of the symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, nausea, chills, fatigue, and headaches among others. All these symptoms can be associated with mild to severe cases of flu and can leave you bedridden for days.
If you are seeking relief from flu, you might seek to treat your symptoms with over the counter drugs, self-treatment at home, seek an appointment with your primary care doctor, visit an urgent care facility or even decide to visit the emergency room. Many patients find it difficult to decide the best option to take based on how severe the symptoms are.
Difference Between ER And Urgent Care
Urgent care centers have the tools to test and confirm if you have a severe case of flu. They can also prescribe medication that you can use to self-treat your flu at home. They also execute x-rays, blood work and IV fluids for the patient. Urgent care centers can also assess if your flu symptoms are life-threatening to need the emergency care. If you visit an urgent care center, you will be served in an hour or more. The care here is also cheaper compared to the cost of accessing the emergency care at the ER.
The difference between and the urgent care centers and the ER is the level of treatment and care that each facility offers. Emergency care is the best option in case you have life-threatening injuries and if you have severe injuries. It offers immediate care and the waiting time compared to urgent care centers is lower. In most instances, 12.5% of the cases in emergency care will be served in less than an hour. Very often, patients visit the emergency room for non-emergency issues. Visiting your primary doctor or urgent care centers for some flu symptoms will allow emergency rooms to focus on patients who might be having life-threatening symptoms and who might require the emergency care more than you do. Below are a few tips to help you decide which care you need if you have the flu.
When To Visit The ER Or Urgent Care Center Due To Flu
Visit the ER if:
- If you have severe warning signs of flu that need emergency care including confusion, chest pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, persistent or severe vomiting, swelling in the mouth or throat, and respiratory distress
- If you or a loved one has the flu and is in the high-risk group. This group is made of the elderly, women who are pregnant, persons who have a medical condition that affect their body’s immunity and ability to fight infection.
In case of a child take them to the ER if:
- If their lips or skin is blue or hue in color
- If the child is having trouble breathing
- The child is not waking up
- If the child resists being held and is irritable
- If the child is not interacting well
- If the child has a fever that comes with a rash
- If the flu symptoms improve and then come back with a cough and a worse cough
- If the child has no tears when he or she cries
- If the child urinates less than often
- If the child is not eating and has no appetite
Visit an urgent care center if:
You or your loved one is showing flu symptoms that are mild such as a sore throat, cough, headache, congestion, runny nose, fatigue, or chills
In case you are seeking an appointment with your primary care doctor, and you can’t get an appointment, visit an urgent care center.
Most patients with the flu recover on their own without the need for medical care. However, sometimes flu can be life-threatening. It is therefore essential that you recognize signs of a flu emergency. If your flu symptoms are serious, your doctor will prescribe antiviral drugs. This will speed up the recovery process by helping your body fight the infection. This can also prevent flu complications. Over the counter drugs such as Tylenol can also help ease your flu symptoms. Additionally, dehydration is a common complication that is related to flu. Dehydration creates additional problems and slows the recovery process. A clear indication that you are dehydrated is if you are not urinating as often as before the flu.
If your serious flu is left untreated, it can lead to more complications including:
- Pneumonia that is common in elderly patients and those with underlying conditions or those at risk of getting the complication
- Bronchitis that can be spurred by the flu or a sinus or ear infection
- Complicated congestive heart failure which can be made worse by untreated flu
You can prevent catching the flu by washing your hands often, avoid direct contact with those with flu and get the flu shot. If you have a flu, you can avoid spreading germs by covering your mouth when coughing, washing your hands and staying away from work or school. Patients are also advised to get enough rest and avoid activities that are strenuous. Additionally, it is important to stay hydrated.
If you or your loved ones are experiencing any of the emergency flu symptoms or you are in the high-risk group explained above, visit Frontline ER for emergency care. Our skilled and experienced medical professionals will give you the care you need to prevent further flu complications.