As flu season progresses, patients across the country continue to seek care for flu and illness symptoms at a variety of health care locations. From doctors’ offices to emergency rooms, many patients find it difficult to determine the best option based on their symptoms.
MedExpress physicians remind patients, that in many cases, urgent care centers offer a convenient, appropriate option for the assessment and treatment of non-severe flu or cold symptoms.
In a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, 48 percent of patients who visited the emergency room were not admitted. In non-emergency situations, treatment at an urgent care center for flu and illness symptoms allows emergency rooms to focus on the most critical general and flu-related needs. Urgent care centers have the ability to offer testing, medication, X-rays, IV fluids, blood work and can also quickly assess if the patient is in need of emergent care.
“Emergency departments and primary care physicians are the backbone of our health care system,” said Thomas Pangburn, MD, Vice President of Provider and Clinical Quality for MedExpress. “We collaborate with health care providers across the country to help patients get the care they need in case they can’t see their primary physicians or don’t need true emergency treatment. For patients with non-life-threatening symptoms, urgent care offers a high-quality, timely and affordable option for many flu patients.”
Dr. Pangburn of MedExpress offers these tips for determining the proper location based on symptoms:
Go to an ER if:
- Exhibiting emergency warning signs of flu (respiratory distress, chest pain, sudden dizziness or confusion)
- You are part of a high-risk group (infants, elderly, pregnant women and persons with medical conditions that affect their ability to fight infections)
Consider an Urgent Care Center if:
- Experiencing mild to moderate flu symptoms (nausea, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, chills or fatigue)
- Needing to see someone right away and unable to get an appointment with primary care physician
“The earlier an antiviral drug is prescribed, the better, as these drugs are most effective the sooner they are started,” said Dr. Pangburn. “The key is to get patients healthy and back on their feet as quickly as possible.”
As a neighborhood medical center, MedExpress offers a broad scope of urgent care, employer health and wellness and prevention services and works to coordinate care with other area health care providers. MedExpress centers are staffed by a full medical team and are open 12 hours a day, seven days a week with no appointment needed. They offer walk-in treatment for everyday illness and injury, including X-rays, IVs, EKGs, labs, minor surgery, stitches and treatment for broken bones, sprains and strains.