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Patients turn to urgent care clinics

AMARILLO - With the flu season in full force in the panhandle, many are turning to urgent care clinics instead of traditional doctor's offices for care.
 
Along with the winter snow came the flu, strep throat, upper respiratory infections, and stomach viruses.
"I think that's mainly due to the holiday season. We've got people in from out of town and we've got more flu and more strep going around," CareXpress Administrator Cindy Veigel said. 
 
Many doctor's offices are still closed for the holidays, making long lines are urgent care centers. The CareXpress on 34th and Coulter was open on Christmas day and their regular hours include evenings and weekends.
 
"We saw quite a few on Christmas day," Veigel said. "It wasn't as busy as Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas but it was busy. It's a huge increase for us and our other locations are busier than they have been in previous years too."
 
It's not just this time of year that the clinic sees an increase in patients though. Veigel says the convenience of the flexible hours, and the walk-in appointments are bringing in more patients year round. Many people are even using them as their primary care office.   

"If a patient wants to continue to come see us and be their primary care physician, primary care office, we can do that and refer them on for more chronic type specialty issues," Veigel said.

As far as this flu season goes, local health care professionals say it's still a good idea to get your flu shot. The virus likely won't die down until spring break. Even if you've been vaccinated, go see a doctor if you start  feel under the weather because the flu isn't the only virus in town.
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