Since individuals, their families, and friends may become ill or sustain an injury at any time of the day or night, many may choose to visit a traditional hospital emergency room. This is especially the case when it’s after-hours and their primary care physician’s office is closed. Rather than visiting the local hospital, however, a large percentage of these individuals could be visiting a local urgent care center instead.
What Is Urgent Care?
If you’re asking, “What is urgent care?” then you may not have noticed or visited one of these facilities before. Basically, urgent care is a growing medical specialty. Every week, the Urgent Care Association of America has estimated that three million individuals visit nearby urgent care centers.
When a medical issue that is not life-threatening arises, urgent care facilities are an excellent alternative to a traditional emergency room. In addition to having doctors and physician assistants on site, these facilities also see patients in less time and at a lower cost. While most of these facilities are open for extended hours, including weekends, others are open 24 hours a day every day of the week.
What Does Urgent Care Treat?
In addition to the common cold, an urgent care center treats a variety of other illness such as the flu. The professional staff can also assess and treat injuries and wounds. Currently, most, but not all urgent care centers can take care of fractures. Sprains are also a common injury that they may treat on a regular basis. This is because about 25,000 people in the United States sprain their ankle every day.
Colds, flus, ear, and other infections commonly occur with children. These issues can be treated at urgent care centers along with different types of allergies. The 2014 National Health Interview Survey provided data on the percentage of children in this country that suffered with various allergies:
- Hay fever: 8.4%
While some allergic reactions may be minor, others are more serious. Given this, it’s important to take children in to see an urgent care physician or mid-level provider such as a physician’s assistant as soon as possible when they experience an allergic reaction.
Visit an Urgent Care Center Near You
Whether you’re new to being treated at an urgent care center or have been to one of these facilities before, remember to make note of their locations. You may, for example, have noticed that one of these facilities is conveniently located near your home or place of work as well as close to your children’s school. It’s also important to note that you don’t need to make an appointment in advance, which is an obvious convenience.
If you are still asking the question, “What is urgent care?” then once you locate a facility near you, step inside for more information. The staff will be able to provide you with information about the types of services they provide. Furthermore, you can obtain other information at this time, which includes, but isn’t limited to, per-visit fees and whether or not they have a free clinic.