Most people have had this experience. It is after hours and they become ill. It is Sunday morning and they fell on the basketball court. They do not want to wait until Monday morning when their primary care doctor’s office opens but they do not want to go to a hospital emergency room. The good news is that those are not the only options offered to people today. Now, many problems can be handled at an area walk in urgent care center.
Here are some common problems that are treated at these urgent care locations:
- The common cold: There is no cure for it and getting them may seem as inevitable as death and taxes. This is also the most common problem that was diagnosed and treated at walk in urgent care centers around the nation in 2012.
- The flu: This is a serious problem for millions of Americans. You can get flu shots and treatment for the flu at urgent care centers.
- Simple fractures: Today’s urgent care clinics can also treat sprains, strains and broken bones. It has been estimated that more than four in every five walk in clinics have x-ray machines and can help people with simple fractures. When you see that every day, at least 25,000 people in the United States sprain their ankle, you can see how much pressure can be taken off of emergency rooms when people go to walk in urgent care clinics instead.
- Urinary tract infections: These are very common. More than 8.1 million people suffer from these every year. They can be very uncomfortable.
- Small wounds: Small scratches, cuts and abrasions can be painful and need some attention. They can be treated at the local urgent care center.
- Rashes: It has been estimated that more than 85% of people in the United States are allergic to Poison Ivy.
- Travel medical needs: If you are going out of the United States, you may want to get vaccinations against Yellow Fever and Hepatitis. You also may want to get medicine to prevent contracting illnesses such as malaria or to help you prevent altitude sickness. These are not problems that can always be dealt with at the family doctor’s office and you really do not need to go to an emergency room. Call the center in advance to make sure they have what you will need.
There are also some benefits to going to the walk in urgent care centers. Some benefits are:
- They are convenient. You can make an appointment online for many but you do not have to. If you are not sure when you can go, there is a reason they are called “walk in” clinics.
- They are open when you need them. Most are open every day of the week. An estimated 85% of all clinics are open all week long. Many are open in the evening and often they also have openings in the morning (before 9:00 am).
- They take less time. Most people will be seen within 15 minutes of their arrival at the clinic. The average time people have to spend is less than an hour. That includes the time waiting to see a medical professional and the appointment itself.
- Most insurance carriers cover walk in urgent care center visits. The cost of going to an urgent care center for medical treatment is a lot lower than going to the emergency room. As a consequence, most health insurance companies like their customers to get care at a clinic rather than at a hospital.
The first walk in urgent care centers were opened in the 1970s. Emergency room doctors found that people needed to be able to get medical care on the weekend and after working hours.
They also saw that people needed to be able to get care without waiting for an appointment. Since then, these centers have popped up all over the country. There are at least 20,000 doctors working in urgent care facilities around the United States. It has been estimated, by the Urgent Care Association of America, that more than three million people seek out health care in these centers every week. When you are ill or injured, this might be the place for you.