Many of us have experienced this. It is 6:30 pm and you have become really sick. Maybe you are not able to keep any food down. You do not want to go to the emergency room but your promary care doctor’s office is closed, what can you do? Luckily urgent care locations have opened up all over the county and they offer medical care for non-emergencies.
- You will be seen and treated quickly. For most urgent care locations, most people are seen (57%) within about 15 minutes and nearly 80% are in and out in under an hour. This is according to the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAA). By contrast, when you go to the emergency room, or even your personal doctor, you will be there a much longer time. This makes this kind of treatment convenient.
- Many are open after business hours and on the weekend. To be classified as an urgent care center, a clinic has to be open at least for a few hours, seven days a week. Many are open before 9:00 am and after 6:00 pm. That means you can get into see a medical professional when illness or injury strikes, even if that is after the workday is over or on the weekend. Most primary care doctors’ office are are not open at these times.
- You can see a medical professional on your schedule. If you are not feeling well and you cannot get into see your primary care physician, you may be able to get into see someone at one of the local urgent care locations. There are walk in hours. To be certified by the UCAA, a center has to take in walk in patients. Many urgent care locations also allow people to make appointments online or with an app on their phone. If you want to see a medical care during your lunch hour, you can do that when you go for care at an urgent care center.
- It is less expensive. When you go to the emergency room you are getting the most expensive health care imaginable. It is much less costly to be treated at an urgent care center. This is one reason that health insurance carriers are embracing the option and have lower copayment amounts for care that is received here. Talk to your health insurance carrier about their policy towards urgent care centers.
- You cab get your travel medicine needs taken care of. If you are planning a trip to another part of the world and need shots to prevent getting hepatitis or Yellow Fever or are looking for prophylactic medications to prevent catching such diseases as malaria, you can often get those at walk in clinics. These are items that you may not be able to get at your primary care doctor’s office.
- You can get vaccinations.andnbsp;If you need your flu shot or other vaccinations, you can talk to the urgent care center for that as well.
- There are a lot of illnesses and injuries that can be treated there. That nausea and vomiting you are experiencing can be treated at most urgent care locations. Here are some of the other things that are treated at urgent care locations:
- Muscle sprains and strains. At least 80% of all centers around the country provide some kind of fracture care such as x-rays.
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you are suffering from these conditions and become dehydrated, about 70% of all urgent care locations can give you intravenous (IV) fluids to help with that.
- Colds and upper respiratory infections.
- Eye infections.
- Ear infections.
- Insect bites and rashes.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Small cuts that need stitches.
The best way to get health care is to have a primary care physician who knows you and your history. That is the best way to get and stay healthy. They can work with you to keep any chronic conditions from getting worse and to help manage all of your health care needs. If you become ill or injured on the weekend or at night, that office can advise you. They may always be available when you need to be seen. In many instances when you are sick and they are available, urgent care centers can help.