If you have flu-like symptoms that are serious enough that you desire medical care, it's a good idea to head to your local urgent care center. You will usually get in to see a doctor or nurse practitioner a lot sooner at urgent care than you would at your general physician's practice. This is exactly the type of thing urgent care is set up to treat. However, there are a few tips you will want to follow in order to ensure a smooth, beneficial experience.
Call ahead to see what the protocols are for sick patients.
Urgent care centers do not just treat ill patients; they also handle minor injuries. As such, they often have intensive protocols in place to minimize contact between patients who are ill and those who are injured but not ill. As someone with a potentially contagious disease, you may be asked to use a separate entrance, sit in a separate waiting room, or even wait in your vehicle until a doctor is ready to see you. Of course, these practices vary widely from urgent care center to urgent care center, so you should call ahead and make sure you know exactly what protocols you'll need to follow before visiting.
Bring someone with you.
If possible, bring a friend or family member with you to your urgent care visit. There is often a lot of paperwork to fill out and questions to answer, especially if you've never visited this particular urgent care center before. They'll need your insurance information, health history, and so forth. When you're feeling ill, this can be a lot to attend to, and having someone along to help can really come in handy. It's also good to have someone drive you, just in case any medication you are taking or are given makes you drowsy or in case your illness makes you prone to fainting.
Be thorough in describing your symptoms and health history.
The doctors at an urgent care center do their best to assess your symptoms and diagnose you. But they do not know you as well as your general physician does, so their diagnostic job is a bit harder. You can help ensure they get an accurate diagnosis by being really thorough when describing your symptoms and your health history. Even include things you assume might not be relevant; they could be. Keep in mind that although you may assume you have the flu, there are a lot of illnesses that cause similar symptoms, including pertussis, strep, and COVID-19.
If you have flu-like symptoms, the urgent care center is a good place to seek care. Follow the tips above, and you should have a good experience, receiving the diagnosis and treatment you need.