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Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

URGENT CARE? PRIMARY CARE? ER?

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How to choose the right care for your family

With the back-to-school season starting, it’s essential to gear up for a new routine when it comes to keeping your kids safe and healthy. Even with extra precautions and safety measures in place, many parents are concerned and nervous about potentially exposing their children to coronavirus. As the fall quickly approaches, the flu will be another hot topic, and parents will need to be mindful of where to seek care for their little ones.

Our health-care community is equipped to help you and your family stay healthy during a pandemic, a new school season or just in your everyday life. It is important, however, to get the right care at the right place. Urgent cares are a great option for the busy parent who needs care fast. Whether it be a flu shot or fever, you won’t have to call to book an appointment even in the extended hours to make quick care more convenient.

Urgent care is ideal for immediate medical attention for common illnesses such as:

• Sprains, broken bones and fractures needing

• X-rays

• Lacerations

• Abscesses

• Cough, colds and sore throats

• Urinary pain

• Earaches

• Minor burns, rashes, sunburns and heat ailments

• Non-life-threatening allergic reactions

• Fever or flu-like symptoms

• Mild to moderate stomach aches

• Rashes or other skin irritations

• Select immunizations

When it comes to immunizations, annual checkups or chronic disease management, visiting a primary care center, usually with a primary care, family medicine, internal medicine or pediatric physician will be the best course for treatment. By developing a relationship with your physician and their team having more in-depth discussions about your health background and concerns, primary care provides the best setting for a comprehensive treatment approach.

Primary care is recommended for comprehensive and continuous care such as:

• Annual checkups

• Immunizations

• Chronic disease management

• High blood pressure

• High cholesterol

• High blood sugar

• Non-life-threatening allergic reactions

• Minor burns or injuries

• Mild asthma

• Mild to moderate stomach aches

• Rashes or other skin irritations

• Back pain

• Mild to moderate chest pain

• Headaches

As COVID continues, if you or your family are experiencing symptoms, call your primary care doctor or visit an urgent care.

If someone is showing any of these signs, seek medical care immediately:

• Trouble breathing

• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

• New confusion

• Inability to wake or stay awake

• Bluish lips or face

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility. Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19. Speak with your provider for any other symptoms that are severe or are of concern to you.

If you are not experiencing symptoms, you can still receive a COVID-19 test at a community test site. Weekly community testing sites are available at no outof-pocket cost through Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport. No one will be turned away based on insurance status, and the community testing sites will test you regardless of whether you have symptoms. Daily testing capacity is limited, so plan on arriving early.

If you do not have any symptoms, and you are not aware of being exposed to an infected person, you do not need to be tested. If you have been exposed without wearing a mask to a known positive COVID-19 person for longer than 15 minutes and were less than six feet away, then we recommend you get tested if you develop symptoms and quarantine for 14 days. Always wear a mask to protect others, especially if you are unable to quarantine. It’s advised for children 2 or older to wear masks to help protect them from possible exposure or cross-spreading the virus to others.

You can visit ochsner.org/testing for more information on testing site locations and times.

It is also important not to put off your health care because of pandemic fears. Delaying care can result in much more invasive treatments, complications and serious illnesses. Health-care facilities have several protocols in place to help keep you safe and limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Our urgent care locations are listed at ochsnerlsuhs.org/urgent-care, accepting walk-ins and with extended hours.

For information about scheduling an appointment with an Ochsner LSU Health physician, visit ochsnerlsuhs.org/primarycare.

Dr. Paul Bracey provides urgent care and primary care treatment at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport. Bracey is a graduate of LSU Health Sciences Center – School of Medicine, where he completed an internship in internal medicine and then to completed a residency in emergency medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.

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