Picture this: it’s late at night and out of nowhere, you come down with a high fever and a very bad cough. What do you do in a situation like this? Your first inclination might be to visit the emergency room. You could certainly do this, but let’s be honest, you’ll be in for a long wait, an expensive bill and a whole lot of discomfort.
Rather than dealing with the hassle of an emergency room, a better way to deal with your ailment whether it’s a cough or a fever or an ankle sprain or any number of common medical ailments is to visit an urgent care facility. Now you may be wondering, just what is an urgent care facility? An urgent care facility is a type of walk-in clinic that offers treatment for a wide spectrum of non life-threatening injuries. The Urgent Care Association of America estimates then about 3 million patients visiting urgent care facility every week. Additionally, there are nearly 20,000 Physicians and top doctors practicing urgent care medicine.
Some of them might vary in the services they offer, but when it comes to urgent care facilities what all of them offer is a quicker and more cost-effective way to treat a number of common, everyday medical ailments.
Don’t think your problem will be treated in an urgent care? Think again. The list of symptoms that an urgent care facility can treat continues to grow all the time. As it stands, the average urgent care facility can treat people for muscle strain, ear infections, sexually transmitted diseases, dizziness, sprains common sports injuries and many other aliments.
Still not convinced? Consider these statistics:
- Dizziness is the second most common complaint heard in doctor’s offices and it occurs in 70% of the American population.
- Americans get a billion colds every year.
- 65% of people older than 60 experience dizziness or loss of balance, sometimes daily.
- At least 40% of those suffering from chronic low-back pain don’t see a doctor or physical therapist.
- More than 80% of Americans are allergic to poison ivy.
- Approximately 25,000 Americans suffer every day from an ankle sprain.
- Up to 69% of Americans say low back pain affects them on a daily basis.
Visiting an urgent care can help treat all of these symptoms and a lot more. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll get in a lot faster to see a doctor. More than half of urgent care facilities have a wait time of less than 15 minutes and most of them have a physician on site at all times to treat patients. Additionally, urgent care centers stay open longer. Most are open until at least 7 p.m. on weekdays and some are even open until 9 p.m. or later. Depending on where you live, you may find urgent cares that open prior to 9 a.m. and are even open on weekends. More than 80% of them are actually open seven days a week.
So what else can an urgent care do for you?
- Seven in ten urgent care centers can provide IV fluids when needed.
- About 40% of urgent care centers use electronic prescription ordering systems and many of them use computerized systems to collect patient data, clinical notes and billing information.
- A physician or a group of top doctors owns about 50% of urgent care centers, which gives that person or group of people a vested interested in having the facility run to the best of its ability.
If you’ve got a life-threatening issue, please do what’s best for health and visit the emergency room. The last thing you want to do is roll the dice on your health just to save money or time. Emergency room doctors play an important role in medical care and if you’re suffering from a severe injury or something like food poisoning (something near 50 million Americans experience each year), they’re the ones to see.
But for non life-threatening injuries and common, easily-treatment symptoms and conditions, an urgent care facility can save you time and money while offering you treatment for a wide variety of things.