Save Money By Avoiding The Emergency Room!

You should consult your primary care physician for almost all of your health concerns that arise, but what if you get sick and their office is closed? If you do have a primary care physician, ask him or her what you should do or where should you go if you get sick over a weekend. This is especially true if you have young children.  Your doctor may guide you to a nearby Urgent Care Center, or may be part of network of physicians that provides off-hour access to care.

The last place you want to go if you or your child is sick is the Emergency Department of your local hospital. Emergency Departments are a gathering place for the sick. You and your child have a 1 in 4 (25%) chance of becoming infected with another illness.  Additionally, if you have ever been to an emergency department, you know that it can be costly in terms of both time and money.

With a little planning you can avoid the Emergency Department for routine care, but definitely go if you really need it!

Lowering Your Medical Expenses

Your personal behavior and the choices you make can lower your risk of illness and lower your medical expenses.  Some of those choices are easy.  Some are hard.

Five Easy Choices

Avoid Sick People – It seems apparent, but if you see someone with obvious cold or flu symptoms, avoid him or her. Don’t shake his or her hand!  Pick a seat at least 6 feet away. Even better, leave the room if you can!

Get A Flu Shot – Maybe the easiest thing you can do and it’s free. Most insurance plans cover the vaccination, especially if you get it at your neighborhood pharmacy. A flu shot can lower risk of catching the flu by 50%.

Wash your hands – Wash your hands often! Wash your hands when you get to work or school, when you get home, when you walk into a restaurant. Equally important, avoid touching your face with your hands.  Break that habit. (Harder to do than washing your hands.)

Take your pills – Taking your medicine as prescribed will lower your risk of illness by 30% to 40%. You paid for those medications, use them!

Sleep – Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.  Children, especially teenagers, need more.  Sleep gives your body a chance to recharge its immune system, which will help strengthen your body’s natural defenses to prevent illness and help you recover more quickly if you do get sick.

The Harder Choices

Exercise – Our bodies were designed to move and for exercise.  Our modern lifestyles don’t match the lifestyle of our ancestors.  So, you need to make time to exercise. Exercise has immediate benefits such as increase sense of wellbeing.  The long-term benefits are well documented and include increased flexibility, strengthened immune system, better weight control, and greater life expectancy.

– A well balanced diet is the second part of the equation for a healthy lifestyle.  Eat smart in terms of quantity and quality of food. Today we have so many healthy choices for a balanced diet. Take advantage of the healthy choices in front of you.

Maintaining your and your family’s health is a priority, but it shouldn’t have to break the bank. A little preparation and planning, like finding an alternative to the Emergency Room for minor health concerns and generally taking care of yourself can help to avoid getting into financial trouble.