5 Excellent Ways to Avoid Costly Urgent Care Visits

Kacey Whitlock

Author

Urgent care clinics are good alternatives to emergency rooms for illnesses and injuries that are not immediately life-threatening. Not only does seeking care there take some of the pressure off of emergency rooms, it also gives patients access to treatments for fairly low prices in comparison to hospitals, which can bill thousands of dollars for a single visit or treatment — even one that does not result in a hospital stay. That being said, even urgent care clinics can quickly become expensive, especially for patients who need frequent treatment or who do not have health insurance. Fortunately, there are various ways that you can avoid costly urgent care visits by treating non-urgent illnesses at home.

Some people prefer to go to a healthcare clinic as soon as they know they are getting sick. For those with chronic medical conditions, this may be a wise choice. However, those of average health probably do not need professional assessment for every ailment, so it makes sense to know about the treatments available to you at home. These treatments are comparatively much less expensive than those you will receive in a doctor’s office. For illness or injuries that do not require medical assessment, they are a completely viable option. They can help you avoid the hassle of an in-person office visit, which can include frustrating paperwork or insurance hassles and the potential to spread germs to or catch illnesses from other patients. If you know that your medical condition can be treated safely at home, consider using one of these solutions instead of putting more strain on your wallet.

 Home Remedies

Home-remedies

The first line of defense against an illness is to find out how you can treat it using home remedies. These are usually just ways to treat symptoms of an illness, so they are not likely to actually cure you. They are simply ways to make you more comfortable while your immune system fights it out. Home remedies can make a world of difference for normal illnesses, like the common cold. In addition, home remedies, as the name implies, can usually be found in your bathroom medicine cabinet or even in your pantry.

One wonderful home remedy is a childhood classic: a hot bowl of chicken soup. Although it may seem like just superstition, there is some evidence to suggest that chicken soup is effective in treating common illnesses, such as upper respiratory infections. This is because it has a slow-down effect on white blood cells, which helps them heal more effectively. Soup is also a great home remedy because illness frequently causes dehydration, so you should make sure you are consuming all the liquid you can. Other effective ways to stay hydrated include water, juice (which also packs a nutritious punch of vitamin C), sports drinks or coconut water that provide hydration-boosting electrolytes, and herbal teas.

Home remedies can be particularly helpful in fighting off winter illnesses. Ginger is a great choice for sore throats and is known to help settle upset stomachs. Honey, meanwhile, has long been renowned for its antibacterial effects. It is soothing on sore throats and can help suppress coughing that disturbs sleep. Since sleep is a vital part of healing, this makes honey all the more beneficial as a home remedy.

There are home remedies for all kinds of nonemergency illnesses and injuries. Heat packs, hot showers, and topical lotions, like vapor rub or herb-based ointments, can be effective for back strains or muscle injuries. Tea also is a popular home remedy; different types can be effective for treating nausea, indigestion, sore throats, and more. For acid reflux, some doctors recommend drinking a cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda.

Some people seek out homeopathic remedies. These are treatments that are naturally derived or herbal-based. While some homeopathic remedies may be effective, but it is important to note that many are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and do not have to prove efficacy in treating ailments. Some homeopathic remedies are also unsafe for pregnant women or children, so be cautious in how you use them.

There is no shortage of home remedies, and they are easy to find online. They are a good first line of defense in fighting illness. Of course, if you know that you are seriously ill or injured or if your symptoms become worse, you should always seek professional medical care.

Lifestyle Choices

One of the best ways to avoid sickness in the first place is to make healthy lifestyle choices. Although everybody gets sick at one point or another, becoming a healthier person overall means you are more likely to be sick for a shorter period and have milder symptoms. One particularly important thing to consider is how much sleep you get. It is difficult to say exactly how much sleep the average person needs. However, getting on a solid sleep schedule and getting roughly eight hours gives your immune system a significant boost. Meanwhile, missing out on sleep means your bodily defenses grow weaker.

Stress can also weaken your immune system. It is important to find ways to relax and actively destress to boost your body’s defenses. Some people find that exercise is an effective way for them to blow off steam (and exercise is an important part of their lifestyles, too). Others find ways to destress through hobbies and activities, like yoga, cycling, or gardening.

There are other important parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost your immune system, such as eating well, taking vitamins, and staying hydrated. However, the immune system, like anything else, needs rest in order to be strong, so get plenty of sleep and find ways to relax.

Preventative Measures

Avoiding illnesses (and, therefore, costly doctor visits) is also about being prudent and anticipating ways that disease spreads. An obvious line of defense is making sure to wash your hands often, especially during cold and flu season. If you do not have the choice to wash your hands at certain times, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Encourage others not to go out in public when they are sick since it is easy to spread germs, especially if they are coughing or sneezing. This is especially important to consider since illnesses do not affect everyone the same way. What could be a mild case of the sniffles for you could turn into a serious or even life-threatening illness for some of the people you could come in contact with, such as infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised.

In your home, make sure you regularly clean surfaces with disinfectant spray, especially during bouts of illness. This ensures that germs do not reinfect your household, plunging you into another round of sickness. You can also consider taking a daily multivitamin or a variety of vitamin supplements to boost your immune system. Do bear in mind that not all supplements are created equally, so make sure to find one that is FDA-regulated and proven to be effective in strengthening your immune system.

One of the most effective preventative measures is to make sure you get a yearly flu shot. These are offered at doctor’s offices, clinics, and pharmacies around the country. Some insurances cover the cost of the shot in part or in full. Certain locations offer discounts or even free flu shots for patients who do not have insurance. The changeable nature of influenza makes it difficult to produce a flu shot with the same level of effectiveness as most routine vaccines, but its average effectiveness ranges between 60 and 90 percent. This makes it an extremely smart choice for everyone, especially those who live or interact on a regular basis with infants, seniors, or the chronically ill.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Most nonemergency illnesses or injuries can be treated effectively at home with over-the-counter medications. These are medicines that can be bought in most stores and do not require a prescription from a doctor. Medications for common ailments, such as headaches, muscle aches, and heartburn, usually fall under the category of over-the-counter medications.

Most people keep a stock of aspirin, antibiotic cream, and other such medications on hand. As with any medication, you should read the label before taking it to check for proper dosing instructions, as well as any drug interaction warnings or other health warnings. Some medications contain elements that allergy-sensitive persons cannot take. Others may interact negatively with other common medications, such as blood thinners, NSAIDs, or antidepressants. Make sure you are aware of any reactions you have had to medications in the past, as well as interactions that exist between your prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs.

Some over-the-counter medicines have other special considerations. Some are not safe for seniors or infants. Pregnant women should be particularly careful with OTC drugs since certain medications can put a growing fetus at risk. Aspirin and ibuprofen, for example, are not recommended during pregnancy; however, acetaminophen is widely regarded as safe. Other OTC medications may interact badly with alcohol, so you should take care to avoid drinking if you have recently taken medicine.

Most OTC drugs have specific dosing instructions printed on the side of the package. It is important to read these, so you know exactly how much medicine you should take and how often you should take it. It is possible to overdose on OTC medications or to cause yourself serious health problems in the long run. If you are unsure about the safety of a particular medication, your doctor can help you understand if it is an appropriate treatment for you.

Telehealth Services

Treating illness on your own can be quite overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with your condition or unsure what medications you should be taking. The age of the internet has made telehealth services more available. These services allow you to speak with a medical professional on the phone, online, or in a video call, giving you the accessibility of a physical doctor’s appointment without the hassle of going to a clinic.

Some of these services can be expensive, charging an online appointment fee for each individual consultation. However, Bonum Health allows patients to talk with medical professionals as often as they need for a single annual fee. This means that your bank account will not be drained every time you need to ask a question, making Bonum Health a great option for telehealth services.

People who have chronic medical issues, such as frequent migraines or other conditions, may find themselves losing money to regular doctor’s appointments or struggle to pay co-pays even if they are insured. Bonum Health accepts patients of any insured status — even if that means they are not covered at all. The fee is the same for everyone: one annual fee that covers a year’s worth of telehealth services, so you can seek medical care wherever and whenever you need.

Bonum Health’s medical professionals can even fill your prescriptions for you, so your medications are ready to pick up at your nearest pharmacy. Their telehealth services are an ideal way to avoid costly urgent care visits if you need treatment for an urgent illness or injury. A video or telephone consultation with one of Bonum Health’s certified professionals is the exact experience you will get at a general practitioner or urgent care facility – from your own home. If you need medical care but also want to avoid frequent clinical fees, consider signing up with Bonum Health for the best possible telehealth services.

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