If you have to see a doctor, can't reach your regular doctor, and are looking at an urgent care center as a possible place to go, you know that you'll have to bring your insurance card, a list of the medications you take, and so on. But even when you're prepared with those, you may find that there are other things you need to get through the appointment. Here are three things that you really do need to bring with you when you go to urgent care in order to get treatment that's as quick and appropriate as possible.
Cash -- Even if You're Insured
Urgent care centers usually take many different forms of insurance, but this doesn't guarantee they'll take yours, or even that they'll bill the insurance company directly. It is in your best interests to grab what cash you can before heading over to the center. At the very least, assume you'll have to pay the equivalent of your insurance co-pay; if you can, bring more in case the center does not bill your insurance company and instead takes payment from you (and you have to get reimbursed by the insurance company). If you have time, you can call the center to find out the exact amount you'll need.
Something to Write With and Something to Write On
You'll likely get instructions about how to care for your condition, and it's always a good idea to write those down. But it's best to bring your own pen and paper. That seems like an obvious suggestion, but many people forget to do this. You want your own pen and paper for three reasons. One is, of course, that it saves time -- you don't have to wait for someone to go find paper for you. A second reason is that, if you're sick with a virus, you don't want to spread it around through hand contact with the pen or pencil that you use. If you use your own, there's no problem there. The third reason is related to that -- you don't want to risk touching a pen that was last handled by someone who was sick. Urgent care centers do their best to prevent the spread of illnesses, but this is still a risk in any medical setting.
A List of Teas and Drinks You've Had -- That's Not a Joke
You know to bring your list of medications, and you've likely heard you need to bring a list of supplements, too. But did you know that the hibiscus-mint iced tea you drank could be affecting your test results at urgent care? Or that the dandelion tea you like to drink could be the real reason behind how you feel? Herbal and regular teas, tisanes, and other concoctions can have some real effects on your health. Hibiscus tea, for example, is known to lower blood pressure and can interact with blood pressure medications. Dandelions are related to ragweed, and if you're allergic to ragweed, you need to stay away from dandelions -- which means if you've been drinking dandelion tea and breaking out in a rash, for example, you may have found the cause of the rash.
If you have other questions about what to bring to urgent care, call the center if you can and see what the staff there recommends. You may want to call a few centers, such as Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home, to get a more well-rounded idea of what places like these want.