7 Ways to Avoid Going to the ER This Winter

#1 – Call to schedule a visit to your doctor.

Talk to them about your concerns.

Your PCP can speak to you about your minor and non urgent complaints, or chronic conditions.

Running out of diabetes, asthma or other medication?

Low to moderate back pain?

It’s time to follow up. If you’re elderly, speak to a family member about helping you schedule the appointment and the transportation. Did you know? Some insurers now provide free rides to see your doctor.

Primary care docs can get to know your individual medical history, how you respond to certain medications, and prescribe you a variety of treatment options, or give you their best medical advice. They cannot always see you the same day, but they can get to know you and your health concerns more thoroughly.


Schedule a doctor’s appointment for a routine check up.

Find out who your primary care physician is by calling your health plan.
No insurance or doctor? Find free clinics near you
It’s good to establish rapport and communicate by phone or email with your doctor, especially if you are frequently ill and will be needing prescriptions.

Some go to the Emergency Department for an opinion on multiple complaints of very minor urgency. Perhaps they need to find another primary care physician; their insurer may be able to assist in reassigning them.

If you don’t have a doctor yet, call your insurer. You can also find clinics that are free in some states and cities. Lastly, Urgent Care centers may be able to provide care much faster than the ER. If you call them, you can find out about their payment options, in case you aren’t covered.


#1b – Call your dentist or an emergency dentist to treat your teeth.

Many people go to the ER for dental pain, when a clinic specially made for emergency dental treatments may be open and available to help. Give them a call. If they absolutely cannot treat you, they will likely send you to the ER anyway.

Why not try them first for that toothache?

Q: What leads to dental damage?

  • Lack of daily brushing, flossing (the brushing action, not the fluoride)
  • Sugars, acidic drinks, coffee, citrus drinks, black teas, pop and smoking
  • Fluoride is harmful to dental health and humans.
  • REDUCE ACID AND SUGAR CONSUMPTION. Drinking fewer pop drinks and coffee.

REGULAR BRUSHING ACTION. Brushing once in the morning and in the evening or after meals can be helpful; brush gently for about 1-2 minutes, without pushing too hard, and slowly for a much thorough and pain free clean.

Q: What can help teeth?
Drinking water, brushing your teeth daily, eating more vegetables, and reduced pop, black tea, dark roast coffee consumption. Stop smoking cigarettes, marijuana and drug use as they harm the whole body.

Starting a little at a time may be the easiest way to develop better habits for your teeth health.

# 2 – Keep a map of urgent care centers.

Put it on the fridge, near your computer at home, or enter a few of the nearest Urgent Cares into your phone just in case.


#3 – Be prepared.

Ensure you have a supply of fever reducer, Tylenol or aspirin, cough drops, honey and chamomile tea, in case you develop illness.

Some of us frequent the ER for coughs and fevers that can simply be treated at home with a fever reducer, cough drops and patience. 1-2 days of a cold, cough or fever may resolve itself within a week, sometimes less without a visit to the ER.


#4 – Drive carefully.

Drive with caution in winter weather. Minimize driving during holidays.

Accidents happen in fog, rain, snow weather, from lack of sleep, drug use, and cell phone distracted drivers.

Exercise restraint or leave the phone behind, if it’s too difficult.
Watch for black ice.


# 5 – Moderation.

Drink in moderation during festivities. During holidays and encourage others to be responsible about recreation.


# 6 – Shop safely.

When shopping, be respectful, safe, patient in crowded malls and shops. If you wish to avoid crowded shopping areas, try online shopping.


# 7 – Watch for ice.

Dress warmly, as necessary for the weather and look below to prevent slips down icy stairs, sidewalks and walking paths.


Feature Photo Credit: Maria Michelle

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