If you are sick, then you may feel very bad, and this may seem like it is an emergency. However, if it isn't really a medical emergency, then you should consider going to the doctor's office instead of the hospital. You can learn more about times when you should go to the doctor's instead of the hospital here, as well as why a doctor's office visit may be the better choice.
Determining if You Should Choose a Doctor's Office Visit or the Hospital
Is there a Doctor Available?
One of the things you need to determine is whether there is even a doctor available to see you. If it's after office hours, then your doctor won't be an option. Or, if your doctor's office isn't able to squeeze you in, then you will need to figure something else out. If you have a walk-in clinic in your area, then this is a great alternative to seeing your doctor if it isn't an emergency. However, if there just isn't a doctor you can see, then the next thing to consider is if you are going to be able to hold out until you can get into one. If it's not a real emergency, then you should be able to do this.
Why Is the Doctor's Ofice the Better Choice in Some Cases?
If you aren't dealing with an actual emergency, then the doctor's office is a better choice for many reasons. For one thing, when you go to the doctor instead of the emergency room, you won't be taking resources from those who really need them for potentially life and death reasons. Also, you won't end up paying a large hospital bill because your insurance determined it wasn't an emergency and decided not to cover the visit, which can happen in some cases. You also won't put yourself in the position of seeing some traumatic things like you may when you go to the emergency room.
Is Your Illness at the Point of an Emergency?
There are some signs that your illness is serious enough that it should warrant a trip to the emergency room. One sign is a high fever that you can't get control of, even after trying fever reducers and lukewarm baths. Another sign you should go to the hospital is if you are having a hard time breathing. Another example of when to go to the hospital for an illness is when you are experiencing severe pain that's beyond what can normally be expected when you are ill. If you aren't experiencing things like these, then it's better to try to go to the doctor's office.
When Should You Go to the Doctor's Office for an Illness?
If you have an illness that's not serious, such as a cold or the flu, then you can try to treat it at home. However, if the illness continues to drag on, it gets worse, or it is a type of illness often caused by a bacterial infection, then you should go to the doctor. Some examples of illnesses or conditions often caused by bacterial infections can include ear infections, sinus infections, respiratory illnesses, pink eye, and other illnesses that linger and don't seem to get better with over-the-counter medications.
Contact your local provider if you have questions about scheduling a doctor's office visit.