I have always been in pretty good health, so I was surprised one day when my doctor told me my blood pressure was a bit high. She told me to begin watching my salt intake, start exercising, and to try to relax. Well, I intended to follow her advice when I left her office, but the next day I was back to my same habits. I kept using the salt shaker and didn't begin an exercise routine like I had planned. When I went for my next check-up, she told me that my blood pressure was even higher and approaching a dangerous level. I had to begin a blood pressure medication to manage it. I wanted to create a blog to share my story and remind people to listen to their doctors' advice. If a few lifestyle changes can improve your health, then you should make them.
A Walk in clinic, sometimes referred to as urgent care, is commonly open to the public seven days a week and on most weeknights, with no appointment necessary. Because walk in clinics are so accessible, and often less costly than an emergency room visit, many choose this option for treating non-life threatening medical conditions. While services may vary, most walk in clinics treat minor illnesses and injuries, as well as offer immunizations for adults and children.
While it's recommended to see your primary care physician for ongoing treatment or serious medical conditions, if you're unable to get a same-day appointment, you might seek one-time treatment at a walk in clinic. The following is a list of services your local walk in clinic may offer:
1. Diagnosis and Treatment of Minor Illnesses
These services often include treatment for the following conditions:
Influenza or flu-like symptoms: This includes diagnosis and treatment of upper respiratory symptoms such as nasal congestion and coughing, as well as chills, moderate fever and body aches. If you're experiencing these symptoms and can't get to your regular doctor, an urgent care nurse practitioner will be able to make a proper diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan.
For a proper diagnosis of influenza, you may require laboratory testing. There may be an additional charge for tests, which may or may not be covered by your insurance plan. At most clinics, you may also pay cash upfront if you prefer.
Your nurse practitioner may recommend over-the-counter medications such as nasal decongestants and cough medicine, or ibuprofen to reduce fever and body aches. In some cases, a prescription may be given.
Seasonal allergies: Sneezing, runny nose and itchy or watery eyes may indicate a seasonal allergy. After taking a brief medical history and performing a physical examination, you may be given over-the-counter or prescription allergy medication to treat your symptoms. You may also be informed to visit your regular doctor for a follow up and testing if necessary.
Conjunctivitis (pink eye): Pink eye may result from a vital or bacterial infection that affects the eyelid and the surface of the eye. Allergies or reaction to smoke and chemical fumes may also cause pink eye. Symptoms include redness, itching, pain and discharge from the affected eye. The health care provider may administer medicated drops or offer a prescription.
2. Treatment of Minor Injuries
While you should always seek immediate treatment at a hospital emergency room for uncontrolled bleeding or serious head injuries, a walk in clinic may be a good option for treating injuries such as:
Minor burns or sunburn: This typically includes first degree burns affecting the top layer of skin only. Redness and minor pain may be present. Blistering that occurs from second degree burns or moderate sunburn may also be treated at most urgent care walk in clinics.
Minor cuts and abrasions: The nurse practitioner will clean and disinfect the wound and apply a sterile dressing. This will help prevent infection. In some cases, sutures (stitches) may be applied to close the wound and help promote healing.
Sprains or muscle strains: Sprained ankles and pulled muscles are common injuries treated at walk in clinics. If you experience pain, swelling or bruising, you may be be given x-rays to determine if broken bones are present. If you've been diagnosed with a sprain, the health care provider may prescribe a pain reducer and compress the injured part with a wrap or bandage. Ice may also be applied, and you may be given instructions on how to rest the injured area.
Bee stings or Insect Bites: Symptoms that indicate a serious allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing or severe swelling, should be treated at the hospital emergency room. For minor symptoms, such as burning, itching and slight pain, an urgent care provider can help. Ice or a topical anesthetic may be applied, and antihistamines may be given to relieve itching.
Many walk in clinics offer vaccination against various diseases. Immunizations may include flu shots, pneumonia shots and immunizations for Hepatitis A and B. Tetanus shots are commonly offered as well. You might want to contact your health insurance provider to learn if these immunizations are covered. When visiting a walk in clinic or urgent care facility, bring photo identification and medical history (including prescription list, if applicable) with you. If paying by insurance, have your information handy. Be prepared for a possible lengthy wait time, as walk in clinics practice on a first-come basis.Share
2 June 2015