When your primary care physician is unavailable, knowing where to turn for medical help can be challenging. Whether it’s after hours, on the weekend, or during a holiday, knowing what to do when your doctor is unavailable is an integral part of staying healthy.

Here are a few steps you can take when your primary care physician is not available:

Visit a 24-hour urgent care center

24 hour urgent care centers are designed to provide medical care for non-emergency conditions when your doctor is unavailable.

They often provide quick and efficient treatment for a variety of conditions. This can be especially helpful for unexpected illnesses or injuries that occur outside of regular office hours. Urgent care centers often have walk-in appointments and are located in convenient, easy-to-reach locations, making it easier for you to access medical care when needed.

An urgent care center can provide medical treatment for non-emergency conditions, such as colds, flu, ear infections, and sprains, that may not require a trip to the emergency room.

If you require specialist care, a 24-hour urgent care center can refer you to a specialist and help coordinate your medical care.

Use telemedicine services

Many healthcare providers now offer telemedicine services that allow you to visit a doctor or nurse virtually.

These services can be a convenient and cost-effective way to receive medical advice when your doctor is unavailable. Telemedicine is rapidly becoming the 21st century’s version of a house call.

From quicker diagnoses and treatments to improved follow-up care and privacy, virtual care offers many benefits for patients.

Call a nurse advice line

Many healthcare providers offer nurse advice lines that you can call for medical advice and information. These lines are staffed by trained nurses who can help determine whether you need to seek medical care and if so, where to go.

Go to the emergency room

Know your body and trust your instincts.

If you are experiencing potentially life-threatening symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis, or severe bleeding, go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Make an appointment with a new doctor

If your primary care physician is unavailable for an extended period of time, consider finding a new doctor.

You can ask for recommendations from friends and family, read reviews of doctors online, or ask your insurance company for a list of providers in your area.

Bottom line

Knowing what to do when your primary care physician is unavailable is important to staying healthy.

Whether you choose to use telemedicine services, visit a 24-hour urgent care center, call a nurse advice line, go to the emergency room, or make an appointment with a new doctor, there are options available to help you receive the medical care you need.

Common services provided by urgent care centers include in-person & virtual care for cold and flu symptoms, allergic reactions, physical examinations, and more.

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