If you need to get immediate treatment for any non-life threatening illnesses or injuries an urgent care center is one option you should keep in mind. While many people consider the emergency room as the go too place for most medical issues that need to get immediate treatment, an urgent care center is usually more than capable of handles a host of issues.
What Can Urgent Care Treat?
If you need to get immediate treatment, but don’t feel that the issue is life threatening, here are some issues an urgent care center can help treat.
- Breathing difficulties including shortness of breath and asthma related problems.
- Chest pain
- Fever or flu symptoms or prevention.
- Persistent headache
- Stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration.
- Wounds that may need stitches, but are not life threatening.
- Laboratory services, x-rays, diagnostics.
- Sore throats or cough.
- Skin irritation, rashes, or infections.
- Minor broken bones.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Eye redness, or irritation.
- Accidents or fall injuries.
These are just a few examples of the range of issues an urgent care center can help with. According to Becker’s Hospital review, only 3% of patients who originally head to urgent care need to be transferred to an emergency room. Additionally the wait times you will face in urgent care are much shorter than in the ER. The urgent Care Association of America published a report in 1026 that found 92% of urgent care clinics had wait times of 30 minutes or under in 2015. In the ER patients are treated based on how severe their issue is, meaning for non-life threatening problems you could be waiting for hours.
Some urgent care centers are open 24 hours so that you can get immediate treatment even in the middle of the night, should something go wrong. Additionally, and appointment isn’t required for most centers, though some may have the option to book one online.
These clinics can be a good option if you need to get immediate care, and some can even offer physicals for school, and additional vaccinations, including yearly flu vaccines. While they are not a replacement for your primary physician, they can be a good option if you are unable to see your doctor, or it is after hours.
You can also check with the clinic, either online or over the phone, to see if they accept you insurance. This is a good step to take in preparation, just in case something arises in the future. Though even if you don’t have insurance, or your insurance doesn’t cover your chosen clinic, the costs of urgent care are vastly lower than emergency room costs. According to Cigna, in 2016 the average cost of an urgent care visit was $176 while an ER visit cost $2,259.
If you need to get immediate care, you need to know where to go to get the help you need. For many illnesses and injuries an urgent care can serve you well. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with nearby clinics so that you know where you can go should something happen. It’s better to be prepared now, than to not know where to turn when you need it.