Think of urgent care centers as the service between your regular doctor and the hospital’s emergency room. These centers are where you should go if your symptoms are severe but not enough to warrant a visit to a hospital. They’re also ideal if you need doctors after hours. While you might also go to the hospital’s emergency room, the wait time and the cost of ER visits are often extensive. So, if your emergency is non-life threatening, visit an urgent care center instead of going to the ER.
Purpose of Urgent Care Centers
Urgent care centers treat illnesses that aren’t life threatening. They provide treatment for acute and chronic ailments. Illnesses that prompt an urgent care center visit often can’t wait until the next day when you can see your regular doctor. You can use urgent care centers when you need doctors after hours, or at any time that your primary care physician is unavailable. They’re also useful if you need services such as lab tests, school and employment physicals, and breath alcohol testing. The urgent care center doctors aren’t replacements for your primary care provider. But, they provide quality, convenient care when you need it.
You don’t need an appointment to visit an urgent care center. Despite this, you often won’t need to wait in long lines to see a doctor. Some urgent care centers even allow you to check in online. This enables you to place your name on the call list, so that the provider can call you quickly. If you have an emergency, skip the online registration and go directly to the urgent care center. Urgent care facilities are walk in clinics, so they’ll see you when you get there.
Examples of Urgent Care Illnesses
Visit a low cost urgent care center if you have a fever or flu or if you’re experiencing diarrhea, vomiting and thus dehydration. If you sprained your ankle, or broke a finger or a toe, you can visit the doctors after hours at urgent care centers. You also can visit urgent care centers if you’re having mild breathing problems, a severe rash or an infection. If your eyes are seriously bothering you, go to the urgent care center. For some of these illnesses, you might be tempted to go to the nearest emergency room, but ER visits are expensive. Go to the ER only if absolutely necessary.
Emergency Room Illnesses
Some illnesses are beyond the scope of urgent care centers, so you’ll need to go to the emergency room at your nearest hospital. These illnesses include any condition from which you are in danger of dying if you don’t get care immediately. For example, if your newborn baby has a fever, take her to the ER. If you’re bleeding and you can’t stop the bleeding, go to the ER. Also, go to your nearest ER if you have a deep knife or gunshot wound, or if you have severe burns, or head or neck injuries.