When people are feeling unwell, the first place they head to is the local GP surgery. In one way, this makes complete sense. After all, your GP is trained to diagnose illnesses and to write prescriptions or referrals to other medical services. However, there are some occasions when visiting your local GP is a bad idea. Below is a guide to 3 times when you should avoid your local GP clinic.
In an emergency situation
While this may sound obvious, the fact remains that every year there are reports in which people who have suffered serious injury or developed life-threatening symptoms attend their GP surgery rather than the local hospital emergency department. If you are suffering from a serious medical condition, your GP will not be able to provide much beyond the most basic medical care. If you feel that you need immediate help, you should immediately call 000 and ask for the emergency services.
If you have a query about the medicines you are prescribed
If you are taking prescription medication, you may experience side effects, or you may wonder if the drug you are taking is effective. GPs are under a lot of pressure, so it is best to first seek advice from your local pharmacy. Pharmacists are trained in the use and effects of a wide range of drugs and will be able to answer any questions you have and offer further advice.
When you have the flu or the common cold
As unpleasant as having a cold or the flu can be, if you are relatively healthy, you should avoid visiting your GP if you develop a fever, a cough or a sore throat. Because viruses cause the common cold and influenza, they cannot be treated with antibiotics. Instead, you should rest in bed, drink plenty of water and take over-the-counter pain medication. By visiting your local GP clinic, the only thing you will do is potentially spread the virus and infect more people. However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. If you are elderly or if you have conditions such as diabetes or asthma, you should telephone your GP for advice. If your health continues to decline, you should visit your hospital's emergency department.
By seeking alternatives to visiting your GP, you can reduce strain on the service. If you endeavour to attend their GP clinic only when it is appropriate, you can be sure you will receive the best care.