Every one of us would have gone for urgent care at least once. At certain times everyone needs to take urgent care from medical facilities (1). But what are the most common reasons to go to urgent care? What are the benefits of urgent care? Let’s discuss urgent care in this article.
What is Urgent Care?
The name urgent care itself describes its meaning. It is a medical service that provides immediate attention to patients who have some illness or injury that requires prompt medical attention but it is not life-threatening. Urgent care centres are typically open every time even at weekends.
They provide care for some injuries like cuts, minor fractures, bruises and illnesses like fever, flu, cold, infection and other non-emergency conditions. Medical professionals like a physician and nursing staff run these kinds of urgent care centres. They are trained to treat such conditions.
Things to know before you go to Urgent care
You may need to visit urgent care centres at any time in your life. Here are some things you should know before going to urgent care:
- Bring your medical report and information: it can be helpful for doctors if they know about your history. History includes the medicine you are taking, your report and disease if you have any. Be ready with information like blood group or any allergy.
- Bring your identification cards: some urgent care centres require your identification like a driving licence so carry it with you.
- Check about their services before going: all urgent care centres do not provide the same level of care and some services. So before going please check once whether they are equipped to handle your needs.
- Check your insurance: they mostly accept insurance but it is better to confirm beforehand with your insurance provider that the clinic is in the network.
- Bring money: most centres require payment at the time of service or before, so it is important to be prepared to pay.
- Know the difference between urgent care and emergency: if you are feeling any emergency like difficulty in breathing, severe bleeding, and chest pain then you need to do emergency rather than urgent care because they may not be able to handle such conditions.
You can ensure that you receive effective and efficient medical care by keeping all these things in your mind before you go to urgent care.
9 Common Reasons to go to Urgent Care
- Injuries during any sports: urgent care centres can treat sports injuries like strains and sprains but if your doctor suggests or you feel it is a big injury like a fracture or internal bleeding you should go to the emergency.
- Allergic reaction: many of us are not aware of some allergies we might have. Urgent care centres can treat such allergic reactions like rashes, swelling and hives. But if you have a severe allergic reaction like difficulty in breathing then you should go to emergency.
- Viral fever or cold symptoms: Urgent care centres can diagnose conditions like fever, and congestion and treat them.
- Minor injuries: urgent care centres have required equipment to handle minor injuries like minor fractures, sprains, bruises, cuts, and burns. But if it is serious, better you go to emergency.
- Gastrointestinal system problems: These centres can treat gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea, stomach ache, vomiting and mild dehydration. They can provide you with medicine for instant relief and diagnose to know the cause behind it.
- Minor burns: minor burns like sunburn, chemical burns, and some minor burns due to fire. But if you got some major burn injury please go to emergency.
- Insects or animal bites: if an animal or insect bites you it is better to go to urgent care and inform them, they can give some vaccine to prevent any reaction. In case of a dog bite there is the risk of rabies so immediately go to urgent care.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): urgent care centres can diagnose and treat urinary tract infections. Symptoms of UTI are mild fever, irritation during urination etc.
- Skin infections: skin infections like cellulitis, impetigo, and fungal infection can be treated in urgent care. If you have any severe condition like a deep abscess or any secretion you should go to emergency.
Top 5 Benefits of an Urgent Care Visit
There are many benefits of visiting urgent care for your needs. The top 5 benefits are:
- Offers comprehensive medical care: urgent care centres offer a wide range of care from diagnosis to treatment. Some of them also offer vaccines to prevent disease.
- Shorter waiting time: compared to the emergency room, urgent care takes a shorter time. Urgent care centres allow you to receive medical attention more quickly.
- Lower costs than an emergency room: urgent care centres are more affordable than emergency rooms. It is more cost-effective for those who don’t have insurance or have high deductibles. (3)
- Convenient access to medical care: these care centres are typically open outside of regular business hours, including evenings and weekends. These things make them convenient options for those who need medical attention outside of traditional office hours. You can receive prompt medical care when you need it most. (5)
- Access to medical professionals: medical professionals like physicians, physician assistants and trained nurses are there to treat you in urgent care. They are trained to evaluate a variety of medical conditions.
Urgent care centres are a convenient and cost-effective alternative to the emergency room for patients who require immediate attention for non-threatening life conditions. But for serious conditions, you should prefer the emergency room or else you can call 911.
- Why do people choose emergency and urgent care services
- Overcrowding in the U.S. emergency department
- Understanding why patients of low socioeconomic status prefer hospital over ambulatory care
- Primary care access, emergency department visit and unplanned short hospitalisation in UK
- Will alternative immediate care services reduce demands for non-urgent treatment at accident and emergency?