Visit the doctor? Nah. How to treat common ailments at home

Some people with health insurance visit the doctor for every little thing. Have a tickle in your throat? Trip to the doctor. Sore neck muscles? A trip to the clinic might be in order. A scrape on your knee from a fall? Whip out that insurance card.

But for most of us, our health insurance plans are not for minor bodily injuries. So if you want to save on your co-pay, here are a few times you can skip the doctor and provide a home remedy instead.

A paper cut. As annoying and painful as a paper cut might be, it does not warrant a visit to your doctor. Any minor cut can be remedied at home. If it is bleeding, apply pressure to slow the bleeding. While it might be tempting to throw on a band-aid right away, resist and try and wash the wound. Soap is not necessary but clean water is. After the wound is clean and dry, put on something like Neosporin if you are worried about bacteria. Since most papers that give paper cuts are not breeding grounds for bacteria, just a good, clean band-aid will do. If you cut is gushing blood and it pretty deep, you should visit your doctor.

A cold. Colds are misery. Often times the symptoms are not bad enough that you feel like you can miss work, but the symptoms can be miserable. But there are times that you should stay at home. If you have a fever and if you are spreading germs to others. Combat a runny nose with an antihistamine and soft tissues. A sore throat can be healed with a lozenge. And make sure to swish with Listerine. The alcohol can help kill the bacteria. And if you really are sick, stay at home. No offense, but no one wants your germs. Nothing personal. If you are throwing up continuously or cannot beat your cold/flu symptoms, it might be time for a visit to your M.D.

Pregnancy scare. If you are afraid you might be pregnant, you no longer have to visit a doctor to get the morning after pill. Just visit your pharmacy to pick up an OTC back up pill. However, if you want to avoid the whole pregnancy scare, be safe and be smart. Pregnancy is 100% preventable.

Painful PMS. Men of the world: rejoice! You will never have to experience PMS firsthand. However, loving husbands and boyfriends are often on the receiving end of bad PMS episodes. If your PMS is painful (cramps, bad mood), you don’t need to rush to your doctor. First, avoid any salty or caffeinated foods. The salt contributes to bloat and the caffeine helps you retain water. Both of those will put anyone in a bad mood. And make sure to exercise, as well. If your period is extremely heavy and lasts longer than a week, it might be smart to visit your doctor. And if you skip a period (and that is an irregular occurrence) you should visit the doctor for a pregnancy test.