Seeing a doctor while travelling too expensive in US. Options?
I am in the United States (Miami beach, Florida). I need to see a doctor about a strange, occasional itch that's developed on my lower body. It's not contagious, nor does it display any physical signs (redness, scarring). I have tried all sorts of moisteruizers, itch relief, and anti-bacterial creams, but the itching continues. I think it's really dry skin, but need a doctor's prescription and advice.
I don't have insurance, and the clinics quote 60-100dollar appointment fees to just SPEAK to a doctor. The lineups are long, and the fees, expensive.
What can I do? In Canada, Health Care is free, but here, it's big business, and I feel very small, and sick. What are my options for seeing a doctor about my itch that are within budget?
Sorry to hear you're sick...
You might start with webmd.com to give you some ideas. Though self-diagnosing has it's issues.
Also, most US cities have free or sliding fee clinics setup to service low-income people, I'd do a google search for Miami.
Finally, if you're really desperate and really don't have the money... I have been told that hospital ERs are not allowed to deny service based on insurance/ability to pay. But please only do this if you're desperate, people ducking out on ER bills is (supposedly) the main reason US hospitals have to charge such ridiculous amounts.
I recommend contacting the American Medical Association for a doctor/clinic recommendation. Their phone number is 1-800-621-8335 (toll-free). They have a listing of all the physicians/facilities (who are members of the AMA and most are) for all 50 states. Explain your situation and what you are requesting. They will not give medical advice, only clinic recommendations.
Here is a listing of community health clinics for the Miami area. Some are sliding-scale payments. Though the search tag said "for residents", I'm sure there is a clinic listed that will also treat non-residents given your situation.
Two other possible causes for the itching may be 1) an allergic reaction or 2) a mild fungal infection (similar to athlete's foot). Allergic reactions don't always present themselves with symptoms such as prickly heat or hives. They can be as simple as the itch you are describing. A fungal infection, though not the easiest thing to contract, can also fit your description. It's not as uncommon as it may seem and the use of "communal" showers (ie: hostels, health clubs, etc. where many people use the shower in the course of a day) are prime culprits. The showers are not cleaned after every use and remain damp for long periods - prime conditions for growth. Most people come in contact with a fungus by leaning against the wall of the shower stall.
Good luck with finding a clinic that can be of help. Also, as Sam stated, hospital ERs will see you though the wait will be long and I would suggest using them only as a last resort.