Medical help where you least expect it

It’s Saturday night. Your baby is coughing and crying and you worry it is croup. Or even worse, pertussis (whooping cough). Both infections left untreated can be fatal.

Your normal doctor’s office is a regular Monday through Friday, nine to five. Can you really wait all weekend to get this taken care of?

Thankfully, our nation’s need for instant gratification and “I need it now!” attitude is not only affecting fast food drive up hours, but it is also extending doctor’s hours as well. Sadly, your actual doctor won’t usually be in, but you have a handful of other options that don not include the dreaded emergency room. And most will not cost you more than your regular health insurance rate.


Yes, my friends. The internet is taking over our communication, entertainment and pastimes. And now you can get medical advice online. And no, I’m not talking about self diagnosing yourself with a food web searches. That really will not get you sound medical advice. You can, however, reach a real doctor. Two websites called Relay Health and Intuit Health can actually link you up with your doctor. Your doctor must be registered with the service. But if he is you can see information about past medical visits, and you can even post questions that you forgot to ask at your physical appointment. (I always forget to ask all of my questions!) Even better: if you do not like the diagnosis your doctor put forth, these sites also help you get a second opinion.

24-hour clinic

These clinics are like 7-11s: Never closed with round the clock service. A big gash in the knee cannot wait a day or two to get stitches, and that is what a 24-hour clinic is for. And that baby with a potential case of pertussis? Bring him on in. Think of 24-hour clinics as less an emergency room, but you would visit when you cannot wait. The cost is typically much higher than a regular doctor visit, but sometimes you just can’t wait.

Grocery store

Big box grocery stores often have a nurse on site to provide certain medical care like administering flu shots and helping with preventative medicine like blood pressure. These sites are usually inside the store but ran completely separately. So the next time you are shopping and feel a scratchy throat coming on, you can stop by and get a mini check up. Most insurance companies will pay for part of your visit.

The Airport

Your local airport is more than just a place to link international locales. OK, just kidding. You should not run to your nearest airport when your doctor’s office is closed. However, if you fall ill waiting for your connecting flight, or you strain a muscle trying to find a comfortable position with those flat airport pillows, you do not have to suffer in silence. Major airports will offer minor first aid by registered nurses. If your condition requires more expertise those airports will provide a shuttle to a local hospital.