From burns and cuts to falls and bruises, there are a number of risks people face during the holidays that can call for an urgent doctor’s visit. But what if your primary care doctor isn’t available? Your instincts may be to head straight to the emergency room for care over the holidays if your doctor’s office is closed. But that might end up costing you a lot of time and money (two things that are usually in short supply this time of year!). Check out the following scenarios to make sure you’re always choosing the best place to get care:
- Have a cough you can’t shake? Try online care. If the conditions of your cold have persisted more than two weeks and are getting increasingly worse, see if your primary care doctor is available or take advantage of the convenience of 24/7 online health care.
- Burned yourself while making dinner? Head to urgent care. While painful, many burns are not life-threatening, so they can best be treated at an urgent care facility. However, severe burns, or burns that result in white or charred skin, should be treated by a physician at the emergency room.
- Friend having trouble breathing because of an allergic reaction? Go to the ER. Allergic reactions can be fatal, so it’s best to be safe and head straight to the emergency room for care by a licensed physician.
When in doubt, remember these two rules of thumb: If it seems to be a life-threatening condition or episode, call 9-1-1 or head straight to the emergency room. If it’s non-life-threatening, but still requires immediate attention, visit bcbsm.com/findcare to learn about additional care options such the 24-Hour Nurse Line and retail health clinics near you. Learn more about when to go to urgent care versus when to head to the ER by visiting these other blogs:
- Urgent Care Doctors: There When You Need Them
- A Guide to the ER: When to Go, When Not to Go
- The Real Story Behind Michigan’s 250,000 Avoidable ER Visits
Photo Credit: William Brawley