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How to Handle Urgent Care Situations When Traveling

Sometimes, when we least expect it, we find ourselves looking for an urgent care facility on the road, out of town, or even across the country. Finally taking that dream road trip to the Grand Canyon? Nobody ever expects food poisoning from that adorable roadside diner. Taking your kids to the regional soccer championship? Where should you go when a sprained ankle spoils the game?

Carry a First Aid Kit
It can feel like enough of a challenge to remember all of the electronics chargers, to fit the sneakers into the suitcase, and to remember to put all of those little toiletry bottles in a separate plastic bag for airport security. If you haven’t put together a first aid kit for your car or suitcase, schedule some time to put one together. When a big scrape happens, and you need to head to urgent care for a few stitches, you’ll be glad to have cotton pads and gauze on hand right away.

Check Hours and Whether Appointments Necessary
When the flu sets in on the first day of that three-day beach weekend, and you Google the urgent care facility in your area, be sure to check their website or call ahead, because you’ll need to be sure that the clinic is open and that you can arrive without scheduling an appointment ahead of time. Talk to someone on the phone at the center to make sure that the place you’re planning to go is equipped to specifically address the particular type of injury or illness for which you’re seeking treatment.

If You Can, Make Contact with Your Primary Care Physician
If you’re headed to urgent care during a time of day during which your primary care doctor is in his or her office, place a phone call or contact your physician to alert them to your situation. If that minor injury takes place outside of your primary care doctor’s office hours, then let him or her know at the next opportunity. You may choose to see your primary care doctor for follow-up care, or you may choose to return to the urgent care clinic for a follow-up appointment. That decision will be up to you and the doctor who treats your minor injury, and you can discuss it with them during your treatment.

Remember to Pack Insurance Information and a Record of Everyone’s Allergies
If the whole family is traveling, don’t forget to pack everyone’s health insurance information and other relevant medical records. If a situation does take place during which you’re having to seek quick medical attention, you may be anxious, worried, or tired. It’s best for everyone you’re traveling with have their medical information handy, including relevant allergies, lists of medications everyone takes, and family contacts of any friends, teammates, or other travel companions.

When the trip to an urgent care clinic takes place while you’re traveling, following these simple tips can turn that unexpected incident from a major roadblock for your trip into minor speed bump.