The holidays are often an enjoyable time with loved ones, enjoying good food, thoughtful gifts, and each other’s company. But the holidays may be less enjoyable if you’re sick. If you fall ill on a holiday, such as Christmas, chances are your doctor’s office isn’t open. In that case, who do you turn to when you’re sick?
Luckily, there are a few options for medical care during the holidays. Which one you choose should be determined by the type of medical issue you’re having. Read on to learn more about where to go and who to call if you’re sick on a holiday.
- Call your doctor. But don’t hang up when you hear the recorded message! Most doctor’s offices have a way for you to reach the on-call doctor at that practice. Listen to the recorded message; it may direct you to call or be transferred to the practice’s answering service. The answering service can listen to your concern and reach out to the doctor on call, who will call you back shortly.
Calling your doctor may be the best option if:
o Your doctor is already treating you for a condition, and your condition has worsened or you are having an adverse reaction to your prescribed medical treatment
o You aren’t sure whether you should seek immediate help, and need professional advice about whether to visit the ER
- Visit an urgent care center. Many urgent care centers are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Urgent care centers are staffed with nurses and doctors, take walk-ins, and have a shorter wait time than the emergency room (typically under an hour). Before heading out, check the hours for your local urgent care center, plus make sure they’re in-network with your insurance plan.
Going to an urgent care center may be your best option if you have:
o Sprained ankle
o Sinus infection
o Sore throat
o Urinary tract infection
- Go to the emergency room. Emergency room (ER) visits should be for emergency-related, life-threatening events only.
You should go to the ER if you have:
o Difficulty breathing
o Uncontrollable bleeding
o Prolonged vomiting
o Badly broken bones
o Chest pains
In these kinds of situations, have a friend or family member drive you to the ER, or call 9-1-1 for a medical team and ambulance to be dispatched to you.
Need more help figuring out where to go when you’re sick on a holiday? If you are a Health Advocate member, call us—you will speak to a Personal Health Advocate who can point you in the right direction.
From all of us at Health Advocate, we hope you have a healthy and enjoyable holiday!