Most experts agree that the best way to get or stay healthy is to have a good relationship with a primary care or family doctor. There are times, however, when people become ill or injured and cannot get in to see that person. For a long time, that meant the only place to get medical care right away was to go to the local hospital. The good news for people who cannot wait for medical treatment is there is a very good chance they can find a nearby urgent care clinic. Here are some of the benefits of getting medical treatment at nearby urgent care centers:
- It is very convenient. Many urgent care centers have options to allow you make yourself an appointment, say during your lunch hour. If you do not have time to do that, you can also just walk into be seen by a doctor or other medical professional. This makes going to a nearby urgent care center even more convenient than going to your primary care doctor.
- They are open at night and on the weekend. Most urgent care centers are open every day of the week. Many open up before 9:00 am and stay open until 7:00 pm or later. Some are open until 9:00 pm. If you find yourself sick or hurt on the weekend or after (or before) your doctor’s office is closed, the chances are good that you can be seen at a nearby urgent care center.
- It is less stressful than the emergency room. When you are in an emergency room, it can be very stressful. There are ambulances coming and going. There can be wailing or screaming. Adults can get really stressed out and the impact is worse for children. When you visit a nearby urgent care clinic, none of that is happening. They have atmospheres that are quiet and relaxed.
- It costs less than treatment in a hospital emergency room. When it comes to the cost of care, the most expensive medical care you can get is in the emergency room. This is the reason that so many health insurance carriers are encouraging their customers to go to urgent care centers and why the copay for services rendered there is less than in an emergency room.
- It takes less time than a hospital emergency room. If you go to your doctor’s office you may wait a long time. If you go to the emergency room, you will definitely wait a very long time. If you go to the nearby urgent care center, the waiting time to see a medical professional will be 15 minutes or less. Many people report being in and out of the urgent care facility in under an hour. The chances are good that you cannot say that about your primary care doctor’s office and that never happens when you go to an emergency room.
- They can handle a lot of problems. Here are a few problems urgent care centers can handle (this list is not exhaustive).
- Sprains and strains: Nearly 25,000 people sprain their ankles every day. All of these injuries can be treated at urgent care centers.
- Simple fractures: The vast majorities of urgent care centers have x-ray machines and can deal with simple fractures.
- Respiratory infections. In the United States, every year, people suffer from at least one billion colds. These can be treated at urgent care centers.
- Stomach problems like vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. They can also help with dehydration that is a result of the stomach issues.
- Moderate back pain.
- Ear infections.
- Bug bites and rashes.
- STD testing. Not everyone wants to see their regular doctor for this.
There are times when the best place to get medical treatment is the hospital. There is a difference between urgent care and emergency care. If there is any possibility that the problem you are experiencing will result in a stay in the hospital, you should go to be evaluated at the local hospital emergency room. If you do not think that will happen, finding a nearby urgent care center is the best thing you can do if you need an appointment when your doctor’s office is closed or when they cannot fit you in.