With urgent care center growing rapidly in popularity, serving up to three million people on a weekly basis, it can be hard to know exactly how best to utilize one, particularly one in your neighborhood. There are definitely cases that should not be brought to an urgent care center, but more can be handled by the average urgent care location than you might realize. After all, only around 3% of all urgent care cases must ultimately be transferred to a nearby hospital.
First, however, let’s take a look at cases that should not be taken to a walk in urgent care clinic and sent directly to the hospital instead. Anything that is life threatening should immediately go to the hospital. This might mean a heart attack or suspected stroke. It might mean getting into a car accident or sustaining a serious injury where there has been significant blood loss. All of these injuries, events, and illnesses should be sent straight to the nearest emergency room. In some cases, an ambulance will even need to be utilized for the fastest and most effective mode of transport.
But there are a great many cases for which the average urgent care clinic will be more than ideal. For instance, cases of skin issues should be brought to an urgent care center if the patient in question is just in need of a little relief. After all, poison ivy is incredibly common – but is not dangerous. It is, however, hugely uncomfortable. Many doctors in urgent care settings will see poison ivy cases, particularly during the summer months, when people are out and about in nature much more frequently than during the colder parts of the year. And as up to 85% of the total population is allergic to poison ivy – and as it occurs in 48 of the 50 states – most doctors will be adept at its diagnosis and treatment. They can even often teach patients on how to further avoid it in the future.
In addition to this, various infections are commonly seen at urgent care centers throughout the country, all benefiting from urgent care treatment which typically involves, at least in this case, a course of antibiotics. Such infections are hugely commonplace, with the UTI alone being diagnosed as many as eight million times over the course of just one year. Ear infections are also common and can typically be treated with ease, though it is important to note that children who get recurrent ear infections might run the risk of becoming antibiotic resistant and should likely see an ENT, an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist.
Urgent care centers can also be great for fracture care, something that might come as a bit of a surprise for many. After all, more than three quarters of all urgent care centers have the capabilities not just to diagnose fractures, but to treat them as well. Of course, you should still go to a hospital if your fracture is severe, but minor fractures will likely only need urgent care treatment, something that can save such patients a good deal of time and money alike. If you feel that you might have fractured a bone, going first to an urgent care location is always a good bet. After all, urgent care clinics can always transfer you toa hospital should the need present itself.
Various forms of testing can also be found at the average walk in clinic. For instance, you might need to get some TB testing done before being hired for particular jobs. Getting such testing done at your regular general care practitioner’s office can be something of a hassle. However, getting TB testing done to check for a TB infection is typically quite the simple process at the average urgent care center or walk-in clinic. Ultimately, this ease and convenience can go a long way indeed.
All things considered, there is a great deal of value to be found in the typical urgent care center, value that has only been growing since urgent care locations were first introduced now nearly two full decades in the past, in the year 2000.