With flu season in North Carolina currently at its peak, medical experts are urging those with nonlife-threatening flu symptoms to stay away from hospital emergency rooms and instead seek treatment at urgent care centers.
Why urgent care over ER?
During peak flu season, emergency departments around the country flood with patients experiencing mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, and many who seek treatment in emergency rooms are not sick enough to be there. For otherwise healthy individuals, flu symptoms can be treated quickly and most effectively at urgent care clinics or primary care providers — and hospital emergency departments can then focus on the patients that most need intensive care.
Additionally, many severe colds often mimic flu-like symptoms, and visiting an emergency room without the flu exposes you to others that do have the virus — putting you at risk for coming down with a more serious illness.
Visit an Urgent Care Clinic: Typical symptoms of the flu in a healthy person are: high fever, muscle or body aches, cough or sore throat, congestion, exhaustion and loss of appetite. For these symptoms, patients should see their primary care provider or visit an urgent care clinic for treatment.
Visit an Emergency Room: Flu-related complications considered severe are: chest pain, confusion or altered mental status, persistent vomiting, fever with rash, respiratory distress or difficulty breathing. Patients experiencing these symptoms should go to the emergency room. If a patient is in a high-risk group — infants, toddlers, individuals 65 and older, pregnant women or those with severe chronic illnesses or suppressed immune systems — a visit to the emergency room may also be necessary.
Here at Mercy Urgent Care, we’re prepared to treat your mild-to-moderate flu symptoms, so that you can get back to feeling your best as soon as possible. If you or a loved one is experiencing the above nonlife-threatening flu symptoms, consider stopping in at one of Mercy’s six urgent care facilities in West, South and East Asheville, Brevard, Weaverville or Burnsville. We hope you feel better soon!