There are a lot of clinics out there, which is a good thing – America needs them. Receiving timely medical help when you need it is actually a powerful experience – it lets you know that help is there, and that trained medical professionals have tools and procedures in place to help you.
But navigating the medical system can also be frustrating and time-consuming. Common experiences including making clinic appointments, canceling, re-scheduling, and still having to wait for long periods of time when you arrive for your appointment.
Urgent care clinics are such a great invention because they made high quality medical care more immediately accessible to large numbers of people. Without the need to call ahead for an appointment, you might expect very long wait times. Indeed, urgent care clinics can have very busy days when it’s necessary to wait a little longer than normal. For the most part, however, they’re very good at staying a head of the curve and providing a service that is as efficient as it is professional and friendly. The next time you need medical treatment, here are three reasons to head for your local urgent care center.
1. You have a dislocation, a fracture, or a sprain
Sometimes you don’t know which of these you have; what feels like a sprain could be a fracture, and vice versa. Anytime you sustain an injury that feels like it could be a broken bone, a dislocation, or a sprain, urgent care is the best choice. The wait times are much shorter than with other clinics – and of course, you don’t need an appointment. You’ll get a fast, effective diagnosis using the latest medical imaging equipment, and you’ll get a very high standard of medical treatment for these injuries.
2. You might have an infection
Infections can be bacterial or viral in nature. They can be serious or not-too-serious. Sometimes a wound on the skin can become infected. Other internal parts of the body, such as the bladder or urethra, can also become infected. Any time you suspect an infection, urgent care is a good first bet. You can get in, be seen by a doctor, and receive a diagnosis – all without calling ahead.
3. You need to get vaccinated
Don’t think that getting vaccines (whether for yourself or for a child) has to be complicated. Many urgent care centers offer a comprehensive set of vaccines and will be happy to advise you on receiving vaccinations. Flu and tetanus vaccinations are just two examples. Staying on top of your vaccinations is recommended by all the main medical associations.
When should I NOT go to urgent care?
It’s also important to know when you should avoid urgent care and head straight for the emergency department. Whenever an illness or injury appears to be potentially life threatening, the emergency room is the right answer. Visiting the emergency room when for less serious situations, however, is a common and costly mistake. That’s why it’s a good idea to understand specifically what your local urgent care center’s capabilities are, since not every clinic has the exact same capabilities.