If you are sick or injured and wondering where to go for immediate care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you have multiple options. Read on to find out how you can get the treatment you need now.
Can I go to emergency or immediate care for things other than COVID-19?
Emergency rooms and most immediate care clinics are open. They treat patients with illnesses and injuries that can’t wait. For less serious conditions, it’s a good idea to call ahead.
Some urgent care clinics are temporarily closed or have changed their hours. Hospitals or clinics may also have COVID-19 screening procedures. They can let you know what you have to do before entering the building. You can also explain your symptoms and ask if you should come in.
When should I seek immediate care during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Seek immediate care the same way you would have before the pandemic:
For life-threatening situations
If you have an illness or injury that could lead to death or disability, it’s an emergency. Call 911 or go to your hospital’s emergency room. Emergency departments are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Emergencies include:
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop
- Breathing problems
- Severe broken bones (bone poking through skin)
- Chest pain
- Coughing or throwing up blood
- Head injuries and seizures
- High fevers that won’t come down with medicine
- Open wounds
- Severe burns
- Severe pain on body
- Sudden loss of feeling or ability to move
For minor illnesses and injuries
Choose an immediate care center (urgent care) for symptoms you’d see your regular doctor for, such as:
- Low fevers
- Mild to moderate pain on body
- Minor allergic reactions (no breathing problems)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Small wounds that need stitches
- Sore throats
- Sprains, strains or broken bones
Can I visit an immediate care center right now?
If you’re in active treatment for cancer or another condition, talk to your doctor about the best way to continue your checkups and treatment. For new illnesses or injuries, you can still visit immediate care centers.
Health care providers are going above and beyond to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by:
- Wearing protective equipment (gloves, masks and face shields)
- Following strict cleaning guidelines for all rooms and surfaces
- Isolating anyone with COVID-19 symptoms
- Spacing out waiting room seats to be 6 feet apart
You can also take steps to protect yourself. Things you can do to reduce your risk of catching the coronavirus include:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth
- Avoid touching your face
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after your visit
- Stay at least 6 feet away from other people
Can I get medical care at home?
Many doctors offer telemedicine visits.
A telemedicine appointment, or video visit, is a good option if your symptoms aren’t urgent. You get face-to-face time with your doctor from the comfort of home. Your doctor can give you sound advice and prescribe medications.