When it comes to our health, we often put off seeking medical attention until it’s too late. We tell ourselves that the pain will go away on its own, or that we just don’t have time for a doctor’s appointment. But what happens when the problem doesn’t go away and gets worse? That’s when we head to urgent care.
Urgent care is a type of walk-in clinic that provides medical attention for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. Unlike a traditional doctor’s office, urgent care centers are typically open extended hours and do not require appointments.
If you’re considering going to urgent care, you probably have a few questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about urgent care, and what you can expect when you visit an urgent care center.
What conditions are treated at urgent care?
Urgent care centers can treat a wide variety of conditions, including but not limited to:
- Allergies: When you have an allergic reaction, you may need urgent care if you experience difficulty breathing or swallowing, or if your throat or tongue swell.
- Colds and flu: If you have a fever, chest pain, or difficulty breathing, you should head to urgent care. With the flu, you may also have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Ear infections: If you have an ear infection, you may experience pain, swelling, and discharge from your ear.
- Injuries: Fractures, lacerations, burns, and sprains all require urgent care. Sometimes, x-rays or other imaging tests are necessary to diagnose an injury.
- Rashes and skin infections: If you have a rash that is spreading, or if you have a fever or chills, you should visit urgent care.
What can I expect when I visit urgent care?
When you visit urgent care, you can expect to be seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner. You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history, and a physical exam will be performed. Depending on your condition, you may also need to have blood work or other tests done.
If you are treated for an illness or injury, you will be given instructions for follow-up care. This may include taking over-the-counter medication, or making an appointment with your primary care doctor.
What are the benefits of urgent care?
Urgent care offers many benefits, including:
- Convenient: Urgent care centers are usually open extended hours and do not require appointments. This makes it easy to get the medical attention you need, when you need it.
- Affordable: Urgent care is often more affordable than emergency room care. In addition, many insurance plans cover urgent care visits.
- Quality care: Urgent care centers are staffed with experienced medical professionals who can provide quality care for a wide variety of conditions.
When should I go to urgent care?
You should visit urgent care if you have a non-life-threatening illness or injury that needs prompt medical attention. Examples include a fever, ear infection, or minor burn.
If you have a serious or life-threatening condition, such as chest pain or difficulty breathing, you should go to the emergency room.