If illness strikes and your regular doctor's office is closed or you don't have time to get an appointment, urgent care can be essential. Unfortunately, however, sitting in a waiting room full of people with various illnesses may put you in contact with more germs than you want. To keep the germs at bay, consider the following tips.
1. Don't Use Toys in the Waiting Room
Unfortunately, germs can live on surfaces for varying amounts of time, depending on the germs. In an urgent care or doctor's waiting room, there are often toys, and if children who are sick have played with those toys, your children may come into contact with extra germs.
Although this tip can be hard to follow, you may want to not allow your child to play with those toys. Remember to bring a stuffed animal, a small plastic bag of Lego bricks, or a book to keep your child entertained. Alternatively, distract them from the waiting room toys with a new app to play on your phone.
2. Wash Your Hands
If you decide to play with the toys or read a magazine, be on the safe side by washing your hands and your child's hands when you are done. You can do that in the public bathroom at the urgent care, or you can just bring along some antibacterial wet wipes.
3. Consider Wearing a Mask
You may also want to have your child wear a surgical face mask. This can actually be fun for young kids who will feel like they are playing doctor, and although face masks don't completely eliminate the risk of getting influenza, they can up your defenses.
If you or your child has a compromised immune system, you may want to take this tip a step further and wear a respirator. You can purchase those at medical supply shops, and they can be great for waiting rooms or any other place where there tends to be a lot of sick people.
4. Look for Short Waiting Times
Reducing the amount of time you are exposed to germs can also help you to safeguard your health. By choosing an urgent care center, you are already ahead of the game compared to going to an emergency room. On average, emergency room waits are 6 hours.
You may even want to look for an urgent care center that provides information about wait times. For example, some urgent cares allow you to check in with an app and choose the location with the shortest waiting time.
Check out a company like Meadowbrook Urgent Care for more information on urgent care centers in your area.