When you get sick, it’s a natural reaction to want to head to your doctor’s office immediately. Unfortunately, many doctors’ offices are extremely busy. They could struggle to get you an appointment that day, or even possibly that week. This can become especially true during the winter months of the year. No one has extra time to be sick though.
If it seems like you have a cold or the flu, you probably will not want to head to the emergency room either. Wait times at an emergency room can be extremely long and most emergency departments set a priority for patients who have the most severe illnesses and are in dire need of treatment immediately.
This means that you could be waiting in the emergency department for an extended period of time, but if several patients arrive who are in need of medical attention right away they would pass you in the queue. Additionally, a trip to the emergency room can be very expensive regardless of the insurance policy that you have at the moment.
Due to this, visiting the emergency room may not be completely worth it if you simply need an antibiotic or some other type of simple treatment that a regular doctor could take care of for you.
Here is where urgent care centers and urgent care services can play an important role in helping you achieve the medical care you need when you need it. Keep reading to learn more about what kinds of services urgent care centers can provide.
Why Go To An Urgent Care Center?
In the United States over the last decade, there has been a growth and an expansion of urgent care centers across the country. This is largely due to patients being unable to make an appointment with their regular family doctor when they need one. In the United States, there can be a large spike in the number of people who need to visit their doctor because of a cold or flu. Unfortunately, you may not be able to see your regular doctor for several days.
Also, some urgent care clinics are able to offer a broader scope of services for their patients than what a normal physician could. You should decide to gain medical treatment at an urgent care clinic if your health issues require a medical expert’s assessment in a 24 hour time period, but your symptoms don’t appear to be life-threatening.
Additionally, many urgent care centers are open outside of regular working hours. This can be extremely helpful if you are unable to get off of work during the day to see a medical expert. These extended hours can also be helpful if you have a little one that needs to see the doctor. A majority of urgent care clinics are open later in the evenings or they may have walk-in hours that are available on the weekend. While these weekend hours can sometimes be very busy, they can still be extremely helpful if you have to wait several days to see your normal physician.
If you’re wondering about the kinds of medical issues that an urgent care center can treat, below is a small list of the medical issues where your local urgent care center could provide treatment and services for you:
- Cuts- these might not involve much blood but could require stitches
- Accidents and falls- if these are so serious that a bone is protruding then you should go to the emergency room
- Minor breathing difficulties- an example of this would be mild to moderate asthma
- Eye irritation and redness
- Minor broken bones in fingers or toes
- Flu, fever, or the common cold
- Urinary tract infections
- Dehydration, diarrhea, or vomiting
This is only a small list of urgent care services that you could receive at most urgent care centers. As stated above, please keep it in the back of your mind that an emergency department is meant to be used for true emergencies.
If your medical condition does not appear like it will be life-threatening then please consider visiting an urgent care clinic instead. Also, if you decide to go to an urgent care clinic, but the medical professionals on staff determine that illness is more serious than you thought, they will send you to an emergency room or they will get you directed to whichever health provider would be most fitting.
Therefore, you should not feel like you have to go to an emergency room simply because you might be concerned about the kind of medical treatment you may receive at an urgent care center. Doctors at the urgent care center will do everything in their power to treat you accordingly, or they will get you moved to an emergency room as quickly as possible if your diagnosis turns out to be more serious.
Urgent Care Services And Specializations
It is important to note that some urgent care centers provide a wider range of services than the list above. There are also some urgent care centers that specialize in their services around a specific field.
For example, there are urgent care clinics that focus a majority of their services around geriatric practices while there are others that focus on dietary restrictions. Other clinics will provide urgent care services that are primarily focused on the heart, lungs, or joints.
When deciding which urgent care clinic you’re going to go to you should do some research on the clinic to discover what urgent care services they provide and what they specialize in.
Additionally, if you are routinely having a medical issue and you are continuously unable to see your normal physician, it could be a good idea to attend the same urgent care clinic each time.
As you continue to visit the same clinic, they’ll be able to build your medical profile and keep all of your information in one place. If you decide to visit a different urgent care center each time, then it could be more difficult for anyone urgent care clinic to have your medical history. It would also be a good idea to have your regular physician share your prior medical history with the clinic. This will help you achieve the most out of urgent care services.