Knowing where to go when sick can save you time and money. The first stop should always be a call to your primary care doctor. Even if they are unavailable to see you, they can offer guidance on where to go or advice on home treatment options to save you a trip.

“Every situation is different, and every patient is different, says Dr. Stephen Giorgianni, Family Medicine Physician and Medical Director at Complete Health. “I always encourage my patients to call the office first, even if we can’t get them in. We can look at their medical history and guide them in the right direction.”

If your doctor’s office has a 24/7 nurse line, save the phone number in your phone for those stressful moments when you’re not feeling well and unsure what to do. At Complete Health, senior patients have access to Call-Us-First, a 24/7/365 support line to speak with a clinician with quick access to their medical records and doctor. Selecting a doctor’s office with this benefit can help save you money and time.

ER wait times can be long, even when arriving by ambulance. “It’s a common misconception that calling 9-1-1 will get you to the front of the line,” says Dr. Giorgianni. Regardless of how you arrive, patients are all treated in the order of need.

An urgent care or walk-in clinic is a great alternative to an ER trip. These types of facilities are helpful when needing testing for conditions such as COVID-19, flu, or a urinary tract infection. It’s a bonus if they are within your provider’s network, giving them access to your medical records and communication with your doctor.

If you’re experiencing signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, or stroke symptoms, including face drooping or slurred speech, always call 9-1-1.

Find a Complete Health urgent care or walk-in clinic near you here.