Urgent care is an essential part of the United States healthcare system. It offers a place for patients to walk in and receive immediate care. At the same time, they do not have to pay hospital prices.
This is why the number of urgent care centres increases by more than 7% per year. The urgent care market now carries nearly $50 billion in value.
Urgent care facilities are convenient for many afflictions. Read on to learn the top reasons to go to urgent care. Explore common health issues and decide whether you should go to the hospital or an urgent care centre.
When to go to urgent care?
An urgent care visit is appropriate for mild conditions that need medical attention. You contact your primary care provider, and they cannot fit you in with their busy schedule.
On the other hand, the symptoms do not warrant you going to the emergency room. Continue reading for a list of conditions best suited for an urgent care facility.
Urgent care is perfect for flu-like symptoms and other viral conditions. You can get tested for the flu, strep throat, or Covid.
They will check your oxygen levels and blood pressure to make sure you are not at further risk. Urgent care doctors will check for the root cause behind coughing, a sore throat, and ear pain. Vomiting and diarrhoea can also be handled with urgent care.
The doctor can prescribe medicine to beat back certain illnesses, like ear infections. In some cases, they may take a chest x-ray to help diagnose if pneumonia is present.
Strains and sprains
You or a family member may get hurt at work or playing a sport. If there is not a clear fracture, you should go to urgent care.
The staff has the resources to treat minor strains and sprains. They can prescribe pain medication and make sure there is not something more serious going on. On-site X-rays can verify that nothing was broken.
Minor cuts, burns, and rashes
Urgent care can treat your minor cuts, burns, or rashes. For cuts, they can stop the bleeding and stitch up open wounds.
Doctors and nurse practitioners will clean and disinfect cuts and burns to make sure they heal properly. They can also prescribe medication to relieve itchy or unsightly rashes.
Urgent care centres have the supplies and expertise to treat minor injuries and skin conditions efficiently. For small cuts and burns, they will clean and bandage the area to prevent infection while it heals. Rashes can be evaluated to determine the cause, whether it’s an allergic reaction, eczema, or something else.
Based on the diagnosis, medications like antihistamines, ointments, or antifungal creams may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. With timely care from knowledgeable providers, most minor medical issues can be remedied during a single urgent care visit without needing to go to the emergency room.
When should I go to the hospital?
Urgent care is not an option for emergency medical needs. Urgent care centres do not have all the medical equipment to handle life-threatening or major conditions.
For example, patients with chest pain or shortness of breath need to go to the emergency room. Concussions and fractures need hospital services as well. Severe burns, bleeds, and pain also fall into this category.
Knowing when to go to the hospital versus urgent care can help you get the right level of care when you need it. The hospital has emergency rooms that are open 24/7 and can handle trauma, strokes, heart attacks, and other critical health issues. Urgent care centres provide treatment for less serious illnesses and injuries that require prompt attention, like sprains, fevers, and cuts needing stitches.
When faced with a health issue, take a moment to evaluate the severity and think about whether it requires emergency hospital care or if an urgent care visit will suffice. Having an understanding of each facility’s capabilities allows you to make an informed decision when you or a loved one needs medical care.
Jeffrey Grant, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.