One thing that I learned early on when becoming a parent is that kids get sick...a lot. From a simple runny nose or congestion, to a full blown head cold or even the flu, kids are more susceptible to picking up germs, getting sick and then passing it around the house. I don't know about you, but my girls always seem to show symptoms or complain of not feeling when in the wee hours of the morning, or after the pediatricians office closing in the evening. So, this only leaves us with a couple of options -- wait it out until the morning and hope we can get a sick visit scheduled, call the 24/7 nurse hotline offered through our insurance to talk with a skilled nurse about the symptoms our child is experiencing or describing in hopes to run to the 24/7 grocery store and pick up medicine to start at-home treatment, call the doctor on call from our pediatricians office to get advice, or our last resort and most expensive is to take our child to the ER to be seen. While these are all options, they really don't help much when your child is not feeling well, and you can't whisk them up to the pediatrician's office for a quick visit.
But, now I can add another option to the list, which I love, and that is visiting the MinuteClinic at my local CVS, which is only minutes from my house. Not familiar with the MinuteClinic?
The MinuteClinic is a walk-in clinic located in select CVS/pharmacy stores in 28 states and DC. Open 7 days a week, including evening hours --- And, the best part...you don’t need to make an appointment; simply walk in wait to be seen by board certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
"MinuteClinic can be a convenient and affordable option, especially during the winter months when physician offices may not be able to provide a timely appointment and the ER and urgent care centers have longer wait times and higher costs. MinuteClinic and CVS are a great one-stop shop for cough-cold and flu needs. You can visit MinuteClinic to vaccinate, diagnosis, treat and prescribe for cough-cold and flu, and equip your house with wintertime cough-cold essentials at CVS."
Now, how is that for convenience! :-) And, with MinuteClinic offering a wide range of vaccinations for children, adolescents, teens and adults including flu, pertussis (whooping cough), meningitis and others, my husband and I don't have to take time off of work or find a babysitter to make a scheduled doctor's appointment, just for vaccination. I especially how our MinuteClinic is open on weekends, as this is the time that we find ourselves needing to address an illness. From a variety of common family illnesses, such as strep throat, ear infections, pink eye and UTIs, the skilled nurse practitioners and PA's at the local MinuteClinic can help diagnosis and treat our ailments, without the hassle of long waiting time at the local Urgent Care or ER. And, most insurance is accepted (or, if you don't have insurance, MinuteClinic accepts cash, checks or credit cards, making it affordable and easy to receive the care you need, when you need it.
Is It a Cold? Or Is It the Flu?
And What Do You Do?
One of the things I hate about the winter months is dealing with the cold and flu season. Even though we make a point to get the flu shot each year, some years, we wind up getting a cold, while others we are knocked down with the flu. But, with similar symptoms, and both making you feeling lousy, how can you tell the difference? Knowing the difference between a cold and the flu will help you explain your symptoms better to a doctor, or seek over the counter medicine to treat your symptoms at home, depending on if it is a cold or the flu. A great article to help tell the difference between a cold and the flu can be found here: http://bit.ly/18ca8La.
I made a point to print out this piece, as it not only talks abouts the symptoms of each, but also share ways to help prevent colds, and even suggests when you should call a doctor. This is a must-read article for families with children. I always find myself wondering if what the girls are experiencing is a cold, flu, or something else. And, if I know the difference, then I can start on treatment by picking up OTC medicine day or night, and not having to wait until we can get an appointment to see the doctor.
So, don't stress the next time you find yourself with a sick child, or feel under the weather and the doctor's office is closed. Consider stopping by your local CVS to visit the MinuteClinic, and be on the path to feeling better quicker. For hours and locations for a MinuteClinic nearest you, visit www.minuteclinic.com/locations.
Connect with MinuteClinic on Twitter: @MinuteClinic