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5 Reasons to Visit Urgent Care

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An urgent care facility is the best place to get medical care for anything that isn’t a life-threatening emergency. Whether you need a flu vaccination, an x-ray, or treatment for a sinus infection, here are five reasons you should go to an urgent care center first:

Urgent Care is More Convenient Than a Doctor’s Office

If you try to arrange an appointment at a doctor’s office, you’ll have to wait for their schedule to be open. This could mean taking your kids out of school or taking time off work for yourself. No one wants to do that for something like a simple flu vaccination. In fact, the CDC reports that half the adult visits to the ER that don’t result in hospital admission happened just because those patient’s doctors’ offices were closed.

Urgent Care is Faster Than the Emergency Room

The emergency room isn’t a great choice, either. Emergency room waits can be really long. Meanwhile, over at medical urgent care, seeing a doctor or other medical provider takes less than 15 minutes for 60% of people who visit. And 80% of all urgent care visitors wait less than an hour.

Urgent Care Has Convenient Hours

More than half of all walk in clinics are open before 9:00 am, and more than 45% are open that early on Saturday. More than 30% are open early even on Sunday. More than 90% of all medical urgent care is available after 7:00pm on weeknights, too.

Urgent Care is a Great Place to See a Doctor

There is a misconception among some people that you can’t actually see a doctor at an urgent care facility. A doctor or group of doctors owns about 50% of all the walk in urgent care facilities in America. And 65% of all urgent care centers have a doctor available at all times they are open. You can also rest assured that the clinic will refer you on if your case is more serious than they are equipped to handle

Urgent Care is More Appropriate Than the Emergency Room

If you need a flu vaccination or someone in your family has an infection or the flu, there is really no need to go to the emergency room. Urgent care centers are faster and cheaper, and 70% of urgent care centers can provide IV fluids while 80% are able to provide care for fractures. Sprains, illnesses, preventative care, routine exams, flu vaccinations: all of these can be taken care of at an urgent care facility.

There are a lot of great reasons to check out your local walk in clinic the next time you or someone in your family needs medical care. The hours are more convenient than those at a doctor’s office, and your visit will be faster and cheaper than heading to the emergency room. Next time you need a flu vaccination, why not try an urgent care facility?

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Here’s How You Choose an Urgent Care Facility

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When you experience a physical injury or illness, it is important to have a plan of action. No one wants the stress of finding the nearest medical urgent care center when they are feeling unwell. Here are a few features to look for during your search for the best local urgent care facility near you.

No One Plans When They’ll Get Injured: Check the Operating Hours.

It is a a spectacular inconvenience to have an urgent issue pop up after normal operating hours. It could be a bad cut from slicing up vegetables around dinnertime, or a child’s fever that worsens on a Saturday morning. On average, the vast majority at roughly 90% of medical urgent care centers are open until at least 7:00pm, with 66% opening up before 9:00am. Some reports have even found that about two out of every five centers are open until 9:00pm. About 40% are open on Saturdays as well, but only 30% stay open for Sunday morning catastrophes.

Look at the open hours when deciding on a medical urgent care facility. You may not have a choice depending on the time your accident or ailment occurs, of course. But knowing ahead of time which one will be open can alleviate some stress.

What Do Other People Think About the Facility?

You can find a review on just about every type of business now. Medical urgent care centers are no different. Other people who have been seen at the facility can comment on the wait times, the level of care they received, the ease of finding the location, and of course the overall cleanliness. Reading reviews can help you compare centers with an amount of details that just using the opening hours and physical location simply cannot.

Some reviews need to be read with a critical eye. Never simply look at the rating system, whether that is computed with numbers or stars. Irate people have access to the internet too. For example, many facilities (60%) may have an average wait time of 15 minutes or less.

Can They Heal What Ails You? Double Check the Care They Offer.

An urgent care center is not an emergency room. No location will be able to offer the intensive degree of care that an actual hospital can. With that in mind, different facilities may offer different treatment options. While one center may be able to treat fractures, another center a couple of blocks away may not.

It is to your benefit to check what is offered and where. This information can be found online, or by calling the facility directly. You may want to have a few locations written down to keep your options clear.

In a crisis, success depends on being able to make the best decision quickly. When that is applied to an urgent situation, but not an emergency, it can be extremely helpful to know where the nearest help is located. Take some time today to look up your local urgent care centers. Review your options, and then settle on the best. Keep those phone numbers and addresses in your phone with the facility’s hours. The next time a crisis pops up, you’ll be ready.

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When You Should Consider Going to Urgent Care

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We have all experienced this. A flu that strikes on Friday night. A knee we twisted on a Saturday morning run. We know we cannot wait until Monday morning to get medical care but really do not think we need an emergency room. Luckily there are other places we can receive medical care at night or on the weekend. Urgent care clinics are open all over the country for just these times. You may ask, “what is urgent care?” Quite simply, it is care we can get when we need it and right away.

When should I go to an urgent care center and when should I go to my primary care doctor?

Your primary care physician is a very key player in getting and keeping you healthy. This person should be up to date on all of your medical issues and problems. They should be completely familiar with your health history and know everything about the health care that you have received. If you think of your health care providers like a football team, your primary care physician is the quarterback. When you become ill or have an injury, the first place you should call is to your primary care physician.

So, what is urgent care? Urgent care clinics do not exist to replace the care that you receive with your primary care physician. The care you receive at an urgent care facility is meant to supplement the care you get from your primary care doctor. The medical staff at urgent care centers are there to treat urgent medical problems that cannot wait for an office visit with your primary care doctor. They do not handle true medical emergencies, those do need to be treated in an emergency room.

A good example of what can and should be treated in an urgent care clinic is a sprained ankle. This is one of the most common injuries in the United States. This is not a medical emergency but is painful enough to make you not want to wait to see a primary care physician. Most urgent care centers are open after 6:00 pm and on the weekend so you can get the medical treatment you need when you need it.

What are the medical conditions that be treated at all urgent care centers? When you think about “what is urgent care” you may not know what kinds of conditions can be treated at these urgent medical care centers. Here are a few:

  • Muscle sprains and strains and small fractures. Most urgent care centers have x-ray machines so they can look at your injury and let you know if you have any broken bones or if the problem is a strain or sprain.
  • Persistent cough, colds and the flu or a severe sore throat.
  • Stomach problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you are dehydrated because of a stomach problem, you can get intravenous fluids at many centers. About 70% of urgent care centers offer this service for people.
  • Mild to moderate back pain.
  • Eye irritation.
  • Small cuts.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Skin irritation and rashes.

Basically, any condition that cannot wait but would not result in an admission to a hospital can be treated in an urgent care center.

What is urgent care? There is a list of criteria that must be met in order for a center to classify itself as an urgent care center. The two associations that govern these centers, Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) and the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine (AAUCM), list the following:

  • The clinic needs to see walk-in patients during the weekday (normal business hours).
  • The center needs to treat a wide array of sicknesses and injuries.
  • The clinic staff need to be able to perform minor procedures.
  • There needs to be a licensed doctor serving as the medical director.
  • They need to stay open seven days each week.
  • They need to have certain equipment such as x-ray technology and phlebotomy.
  • The clinic needs to have more than one exam room.
  • In an ideal world, when you become ill or injured you would be able to get in right away to see your primary care doctor. Unfortunately, that is not always an option. When you or a family member is too sick or hurt to wait there are urgent care centers.



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Urgent Care for Kids Instead of Emergency Room May Be the Best Option

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When a child breaks a bone or has an ear infection, strep throat, a fever that won’t go away, many parents are choosing to treat the condition at an urgent care center rather than at an emergency room. Citing lower costs and shorter wait times at urgent care locations, more parents are seeking out urgent care for kids whose injuries or illnesses are moderate to severe.

Most urgent medical care centers are open well past dinnertime, with 9 out of 10 staying open past 7:00 pm and almost half having an open door policy until after 9:00 pm during the week.

Compared to the extended wait times many families face at emergency rooms, urgent care facilities are becoming known for their speed. More than half of all patients are seen, cared for an discharged within 90 minutes of arrival.

Urgent care services are often reported as being comprehensive, with seven out of 10 facilities being able to treat fractures. Privately funded facilities boast up-to-date billing and patient tracking systems, can often prescribe medication and refer for follow-up visits.

Urgent care facilities are often locally available, and are considered a viable option when time is of the essence. No parent wants their child to have to wait for hours at an emergency room when specialized care could be obtained more quickly and at a cheaper price. Urgent care is the type of service that is said to really make a difference in patient recovery time and overall comfort.