Urgent care clinics can be found in nearly any corner of the country these days, and in fact, they’re located in many major countries across the globe as well. Most people are already aware of the basic advantages of going to an urgent care center for medical treatment: they accept patients without insurance, they have extended hours of operation (or are open 24 hours) including weekends, and they’re much cheaper and much faster than a hospital emergency room.
But there’s still quite a bit of confusion over what urgent care clinics can actually treat, and whether a certain illness or injury should be treated at an urgent care facility or at a hospital.
So, what exactly are the conditions that urgent care locations can treat? Well, to name just a few…
- Sprains, fractures, and minor broken bones: If it requires a big cast, it’s probably better treated at a hospital. Urgent care centers typically have x-ray equipment and are able to scan a patient for possible broken bones or fractures, and they’re able to provide splints, wraps, and minor casts.
- Vaccinations: This is something that many people forget about, but urgent care facilities often provide a variety of vaccinations, including common vaccines like the flu shot and shingles shot.
- Lab work: This is something that most doctor’s offices are able to do, or else they work in tandem with a lab nearby to provide patients with lab tests. Urgent care clinics never used to provide lab work in the past, but more and more clinics have begun operating small labs for patients.
- Prescriptions: Urgent care centers aren’t really pharmacies, but like other outpatient surgical facilities or even hospitals themselves, some walk in clinics also have a pharmacy included in the facility and can provide patients with medications that a doctor or nurse practitioner in the clinic has prescribed during an appointment.
- STD and STI testing and health: Sexual health concerns and tests are often available at urgent care clinics, although the exact tests each clinic can provide is based on how extensive their lab is.
- Basic cold, flus, and coughs: Pretty much any nasty cold or infection you have, an urgent care facility is equipped with the staff and the medical tools to help you out!