Urgent care centres are becoming an increasingly popular option for many patients who need medical attention quickly but do not require emergency care. These facilities provide a wide range of services, including urgent care testing. But when is it appropriate to consider seeking this type of service?
What is urgent care testing?
Urgent care testing refers to diagnostic tests that can be performed quickly and at the point of care in an urgent care facility. Examples include blood tests, urine tests, imaging scans (for example, X-rays or ultrasounds), and Covid testing. Does urgent care test for flu? The short answer is yes. The purpose of these tests is to aid clinicians in making a diagnosis and determining the most appropriate course of treatment for a patient. In some cases, results will be available within minutes. In others, they may take longer – perhaps hours or even days – depending on the complexity of the test.
When should you consider urgent care testing?
Here are some situations where you might want to consider seeking urgent care testing:
1. You develop symptoms that worry you
If you develop symptoms that cause concern – whether related to Covid or another illness/injury – getting tested as soon as possible can help put your mind at ease while also facilitating early intervention if necessary.
Symptoms that require prompt consideration for urgent care evaluation include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle/joint pain
Of course, everyone experiences symptoms differently. If something feels “off” about your health status or behaviour patterns lately, don’t hesitate to seek out urgent medical attention, particularly through coronavirus test centres near you. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
2. Your primary doctor can’t see you quickly enough
Sometimes your primary doctor isn’t available for a physical checkup or routine examination. This can be stressful if you don’t want to wait weeks. Urgent care testing provides immediate medical attention and helps you avert unnecessary delays in diagnosis and treatment.
3. You suspect an infection
Some infections require prompt diagnosis and treatment – not only for your own health but also to prevent the spread of disease to others in your community. Examples include strep throat, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), urinary tract infections (UTIs), and respiratory illnesses, to mention a few. Urgent care facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art technology capable of identifying any potential infection quickly while administering prompt therapeutic interventions like antibiotics or antivirals when necessary.
4. You need confirmation before travelling
As international travel increases globally in many countries (subject to country-specific rules) post the pandemic, it becomes essential for travelers to obtain proper documentation verifying their health status before embarking on trips or planning vacations this summer season. Urgent care testing can assist patients in need of such documentation at more affordable prices compared to other options, such as hospitals or laboratories, which might be costlier.
5. You experience trauma or physical injury
If you’ve sustained an injury outside of regular hospital hours that doesn’t present an immediate life-threatening situation, urgent care centers are well-suited for providing quality initial diagnostic tests. This is particularly relevant for treating conditions like cuts, bruises, shortness of breath, chest pain, brain injury, seizures, and severe burns. It’s important to note that conditions requiring emergency support staffing, such as those mentioned above, should be addressed in an emergency room.
When considering urgent care evaluations, it’s advisable to seek immediate attention if experiencing undiagnosed symptoms that raise concerns about your general well-being. Additionally, urgent care services can save time overall by avoiding delayed appointments for necessary tests. This is ideal for individuals with busy schedules or those in need of fast feedback following possible exposure to illnesses or infections.
Urgent care testing is a valuable resource within healthcare settings aimed at providing patients with prompt diagnostic tools when necessary. Understanding when it’s appropriate for you as a patient empowers you to take control of your overall well-being while reducing the need for costly and time-consuming visits to alternative care centers, such as hospitals or laboratories, depending on the specific demands of each case.
Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.