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Urgent Care: What It Is and When to Go There

Sep 18, 2019

Healthcare Services

Urgent Care: What It Is and When to Go There

Many people think that urgent care centers and emergency rooms are the same and offer the same level of care and treatment. However, this belief is not true because these facilities have some key differences. Understanding these differences can help you choose the best center for your specific treatment and needs.

Read more, learn what is the difference between urgent care versus the emergency room and when should you visit these types of facilities.

What Is an Urgent Care?

An Urgent Care Center provides immediate (walk in/no appointment) medical attention for common injuries and illnesses such as cuts, sprains/strains, a broken bone, accidents/falls, sore throat, fever, ear aches, or the common cold. It also provides other medical services such as sports physicals, pre-employment physicals, DOT physicals, routine EKG testing, lab work and vaccinations.

How Does Urgent Care Work?

Urgent care centers staff include doctors, Physician assistant, nurse practitioner, medical assistants, radiological technicians, and medical receptionists. You can visit an urgent care facility at any time and any day even without an appointment, as it is a walk-in clinic. Your wait time varies depending on the number of patients ahead of you in the queue, time of day or time of the year (cold and flu season the times may be longer). Urgent care centers are available on Holidays, nights, and weekends when doctor offices are closed.

Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Room: Where Should I Go?

Urgent care centers provide suitable and cost-effective treatments. However, you must understand the medical conditions that they can and cannot treat. You can visit an urgent care center if your health condition or injury is not life threatening. On the other hand, if you experience an immediate, life-threatening health problem, you should visit an emergency room.

When to Go to Urgent Care

You can visit an urgent care center for a variety of medical/injury conditions that require immediate care and attention, which include:

You can visit an urgent care center for a variety of medical/injury conditions that require immediate care and attention, which include:

  • Small cuts that might need stitches
  • Fever
  • Sprains and strains
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting or persistent diarrhea
  • Moderate flu-like symptoms
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Moderate back problems
  • Eye irritation and redness
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bleeding that does not stop
  • Sore throat/cough

How Much Does Urgent Care Cost?

An urgent care visit costs much less than an emergency room visit. However, the cost still varies depending on the individual conditions and type of medical care you receive. Most Urgent cares take a wide variety of insurance and if you do not have insurance, they may have a reduces self-pay fee, due at time of service.

What Time Does an Urgent Care Open and Close?

The business hours of urgent care facilities vary from one to another. Some centers may open earlier than your regular physician’s office. Generally, urgent care centers will close later in the evening. The most common hours are 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week. If your medical condition requires care after those hours your option is to go to the emergency room, which is open 24 hours a day.

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