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4 Things You Can Go to Urgent Care For

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Your local walk-in medical care clinic may just be one of the best places you don’t know about. It’s the ultimate source for convenient and affordable medical care. Head into a walk-in medical care clinic and you don’t need an appointment, but you won’t be waiting in line for hours like you would at the emergency room. Every year about three million patients visit America’s urgent care clinics. You should also be in your walk-in medical clinic if you need help with any of these:

Routine Medical Exams and Physicals

Your local walk-in medical care clinic is a great and convenient place to get your annual physical, exams for reproductive health or cancer screenings, or even for kids signing up for sports. In many walk-in clinics, you can make appointments, but it’s just as easy to walk in and see one of the 20,000 physicians employed in urgent care locations around America today.

Acute Care for Non-Life Threatening Conditions

Sometimes you really need medical attention quickly, but you don’t have a life-threatening condition that requires a hospital and emergency room. What does this mean? It means if you suspect you’re having a heart attack, the emergency room is for you. If you have a migraine, a bad sprain, the flu, or a respiratory infection, you can get treatment at your local walk-in medical care clinic.

Preventative Care

Not only can you get routine exams like physicals and wellness checks, but your local walk-in urgent care center can also help you and your family stay up-to-date on immunizations, administer booster shots, and help you manage chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or problems with the thyroid or gastrointestinal system.

Minor Medical Procedures

Four out of five urgent care centers can take care of minor fractures. Your local walk-in medical care clinic can also help you with lacerations and stitches, lance and drain abscesses, remove certain abnormalities of the skin, or help you deal with warts and skin tags. They can also help you if you have an unfortunate run-in with poison ivy, which is a good thing: 85% of people are allergic to it and it’s found in every state except Hawaii and Alaska.

If you have a cold or the flu, if you need a minor medical procedure done, or even if you just need a physical done and can’t find a convenient time to schedule it in at a doctor’s office, try an urgent care clinic near you.

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Urgent Care Centers The Missing Link Between Your Family Doctor and the ER

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The day before I was scheduled to leave for Morocco with the Peace Corps, I got bit by a deer tick. I live on Long Island, which has the highest Lyme’s Disease rates in the world, and so I couldn’t afford to take any chances. I knew I needed to have the tick removed by a professional and take the prophylactic doxycycline, but my family practice doctor was always booked at least a few days in advance, which I didn’t have time for. Also, this wasn’t exactly an emergency, and anyway I didn’t have the time to waste an entire day in the ER waiting room.
Really, I should thank that darned tick, because it led me to frantically Google until I discovered a local urgent care center. Up until that point, I had never heard of an urgent care center, and didn’t realize there was a fast solution in between my regular doctor and a full blown ER visit. Best of all, the urgent care center I found was a walk-in clinic, meaning I didn’t need an appointment. I seriously just drove there, put my name on a list, and was seen within a couple of hours by a licensed physician. They took my insurance too, but even if they hadn’t, I did a quick comparison of out-of-pocket urgent care cost with ER costs and discovered that the urgent care center was $300 cheaper for most things on average. I was able to take care of the tick situation and make my flight the next day no problem.
I have to admit, I had my reservations about going, even considering my urgent situation. After all, I’ve been trained by my culture to believe that bigger is better and more legitimate, and so I’ve always harbored the prejudice that an urgent care unit is less official and provides lower quality care. This is simply not the case. For one thing, they see you faster than an emergency room, with the average urgent care center wait time being less than 20 minutes. This can greatly improve the quality if, like me, time was your biggest concern. Furthermore, 95% of these centers have licensed doctors on their staff. Not residents or students like you might find at a hospital — doctors.
Finally, the more affordable pricing doesn’t hint at bad quality. It’s simply a function of what an urgent care center does. For sure, these are not the places to go if you need open heart surgery or something. But because they only have to treat routine, non-invasive issues, they are able to keep leaner inventory and staff and thus cut operations cost. This savings gets passed on to you as the consumer who doesn’t have a life-threatening medical condition but nonetheless needs to be seen.
I hope I’ve divested you of any reservations or superstitions you might have about urgent care centers, because without one, I would have had a whole host of other logistical problems to deal with that had nothing to do with the tick.