For many of us active duty military families, we get a bit of bad rep for abusing our ER. I know you’ve done it! We all have. But here’s the thing, we are fully covered (which is amazing), so if something seems even a tiny bit bad and it’s the weekend, we know we can always go to the ER instead of making an appointment for later in the week.
But, the ER is its own beast. Sometimes it can be quite a drive – plus the hassle of parking. And then there are the wait times. I’ve waited 12 hours before in an ER! Lastly, there’s always the chance that sitting in a waiting room of sick people all day will make you or one of your kids even sicker!
I don’t know about you, but that’s why I love urgent care.
Urgent care centers are almost always located much closer than the hospital — sometimes even in a parking lot with a Target! And the wait time is usually a fraction of an ER wait time.
Plus, the name urgent care is a bit of a misnomer. You can hit one up even if your issue isn’t remotely urgent. It’s great for your family’s basic health and wellness needs, too, in addition to timely issues like a sore throat, ear infection, or sprain. I didn’t know that I could use an urgent care for my kids’ sports physicals and vaccinations.
Next time you’re debating whether you need to go to the ER or make a doctor’s appointment, consider urgent care.
And here’s the best part: As of January 1, 2018, Tricare Prime enrollees do not need a referral for urgent care. In addition, Tricare Select or any other Tricare plan enrollees can visit a Tricare-authorized provider, network or non-network, for urgent care visits. However, for select plans, restrictions may apply. It’s always best to contact your insurance provider, in this case Tricare, if you’re ever unsure!
MedExpress, our partner for this post, has 250 urgent care locations in 20 different states. These facilities are warm and welcoming, too, plus the average wait time is under an hour. Check out the MedExpress website to see if there is one near you.
And if you need more reasons to believe, check out my top 10 reasons why I choose urgent care every chance I get.
My Top 10 Reasons to Go To Urgent Care:
- Bites and stings
Like the time I got stung by a wasp, promptly turned into Will Smith in “Hitch,” and needed an EpiPen. My family was at a remote lake and the local urgent care literally saved my life. It’s worth noting, though, that if you have a severe or life-threatening allergy, the emergency room is the best place for you to receive care.
- Ear infections
Like when your kid goes from perfectly fine to screaming in pain and you know you need someone to look into that ear STAT and tell you if you need antibiotics – choose urgent care. That way, you can save the wait and the agonizing sight of seeing your little pressing his throbbing ear on the cold ER waiting room floor (also, yuck!)
- Labs, TB Testing, IVs
Many urgent care centers can do it all. From drug tests for work, to TB testing, you name it. Save yourself the drive and choose an urgent care like MedExpress.
- Urinary Tract Infections
Unfortunately, we’ve all had ‘em. Chances are you know exactly what it is – that pain and burning can usually only mean one thing. Urgent cares can test for urinary tract infections in center to get you back on your feet quickly.
- Strep Throat
Is it strep or is it just a cold? An urgent care can help you decide the best course of treatment, even if it’s 7 o’clock on Saturday night.
- Broken bones
When you flip over your bike handlebars while dressed like Tonya Harding on Halloween and break your elbow. What? Just me? Urgent care centers like MedExpress have X-ray capabilities in center so you can get a quick diagnosis and referral to a specialist, if needed.
- Heat Exhaustion
You heed NO ONE’s advice and decide to mow the lawn in 100 degree heat and then pass out. Before you head back outside to finish the lawn, visit an urgent care so the friendly medical team can make sure your body returns to a normal temperature.
- Cuts and Scrapes
You scrape your eyeball while trying on sunglasses in that spinning Walgreens thing. You know, the sunglasses with the giant eyeball scraping tags on them? The pain is unbearable. Yes, you’re slightly embarrassed, but luckily urgent care can check you out and determine the best course of treatment to get you seeing straight again.
- Cold and Flu
Your cold is awful. You don’t want to be that overdramatic person who always thinks she has the flu, like the real flu, but this HAS to be it. Hit up that urgent care to prove everyone wrong with a quick flu test, and get those important meds without waiting until Monday.
- Skin Ailments/ rashes / allergic reactions
Always sending gross pictures of your rash to that one friend from high school who became a dermatologist? Anyone? Healthcare professionals at urgent care centers can take a look and give you a proper diagnosis so you can save yourself (and your friend) the trouble.
But don’t stop there! Many urgent care centers offer treatment for even more illnesses and injuries like:
• Tick bites
• Respiratory illness
• Strains and sprains
Plus, urgent care often offers advanced offerings including:
• Camp, school, and sports physicals
• Flu shots
• Immunizations and vaccinations
• Drug and alcohol screenings
• Work-related physicals
It’s important to remember to always head straight to the emergency room for life-threatening issues like chest pain, trauma or serious head injury, stroke, uncontrollable bleeding, respiratory distress, or unconsciousness.
This sponsored post is part of a three-part series with MedExpress, which has 250 locations in 20 states and is still growing. This urgent care company focuses on YOU, the patient — with illnesses, injuries, work-related services, and basic wellness and prevention services.
All MedExpress centers are open from 8am-8pm and most patients are in and out (and on their way to feed their family dinner!) in less than an hour.
In addition, many of the most commonly prescribed medications are available at select MedExpress centers, which means no extra stop to the pharmacy on the way home with those sick, sweaty, hungry, cranky kids.