Just imagine a scenario. You are not feeling physically well (due to an injury, illness, or any other reason) and want to have an immediate health check. What options do you have? You can make an appointment with your primary care provider. But we all know it can be quite difficult to get medical treatment from your primary physician right away. First, you will require an appointment beforehand. Second, what if you are not feeling well after-hours? The majority (almost 70 percent) of primary care physicians don’t offer after-hours services.
Let’s move to the second option, the Emergency Room (ER). You are not reeling from a life-threatening medical condition, but still end up in an ER. You have to wait longer because most of the ERs are always preoccupied in serving more severe and life-threatening cases. Moreover, you will need to pay more for the treatment since ER services are expensive.
So, in cases where you can’t reach your primary healthcare option and your condition doesn’t require an ER visit but you still want immediate medical attention, an urgent care facility is the place to visit.
Urgent care provides a professional treatment for many types of ailments or injuries on immediate basis without issuing hefty bills. They provide medical treatments like any other healthcare facility, but with some additional benefits.
Difference Between Urgent Care Facilities and Emergency Rooms
Many people confuse urgent care facilities and emergency rooms with each other. While in some cases both can be visited interchangeably, it is important to understand the difference between the two. In simple words, for all life-threatening medical conditions, one should visit the emergency room. For limb-threatening injuries where amputation and spread of infection is looming, it is advised to make a visit to an emergency room instead of an urgent care facility.
On the other hand, for all those medical conditions that don’t appear to be life-threatening but require medical assistance within 24 hours, one should be referred to urgent care facilities.
What are Life-Threatening Injuries?
While we are at it, it is imperative to outline what constitutes life-threatening conditions. In cases of any critical head injuries, spinal cord trauma, any cardiovascular emergency, digestive traumas, heat stroke, and severe burns, patients and the people attending them must visit an ER.
Conditions Treated at Urgent Care Facilities
Now we are clear when to visit the emergency room. We will now move forward to discuss at length all those different conditions that can be treated at urgent care facilities. We are going to divide these concerns into three categories:
Injuries and Infections Treated at Urgent Care Facilities
There are several injuries and infections that are not life-threatening in nature, but their treatment can’t wait for days to be attended by your primary care provider.
For all sports fanatics, there is nothing more precious than their game. To excel among their peers, they always try to push their physical boundaries, even if they are not playing professionally. Sometimes this ambitiousness also results in different injuries. Sports injuries can be very excruciating and it might become impossible to wait overnight for treatment. In such cases, urgent care facilities provide the injured athletes with needed help.
A sprain is any injury that damages a ligament. Ligaments are strong connective tissues that hold together bones and joints. Ligaments can be torn when a player falls with an impact or collides with another player with full force. Twisting of joints while running or tackling can also lead to sprains.
In most cases, urgent care physicians use the PRICE method to treat patients coming in with sprains. It stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. These five steps are part of any professional treatment prescribed for sprains.
All these above-discussed injuries are not just limited to the arena of sports. Road accidents, domestic mishaps, and any type of physical assault can also bring about these injuries. Regardless of the cause that has led to the injury, it is always better to go to any nearby urgent care facility.
Fractures are common in many physical sports. Unbearable pain, swelling, and bruising at the affected location are some telltale signs of fractured bones. If a fracture occurs near any joint, then restriction of movement is another sign. Physicians at urgent care can recognize a fracture by just looking at it. However, x-rays are used to ensure the exact location of the fracture to commence related treatment.
Depending on the severity of burns, they also can be treated at urgent care facilities. These facilities can provide comprehensive treatment for all types of minor burns. It is recommended to go to an ER immediately if the degree of the burn is severe, because this type of burn can lead to permanent tissue damage.
Shallow Lacerations and Cuts
Urgent care facilities also provide treatment to patients coming with shallow cuts and lacerations. Anesthesia and stitching are the routine treatment procedures for all those cuts that don’t penetrate deep into the body. Pain killers also can be given to people reeling from pain. However, deeper cuts with profuse bleeding and with the possibility of nerve damage are best dealt with at the ER.
The eye is a sensitive organ and hence more vulnerable to infections. There are some eye infections for which regular doctor appointments or home remedies can resolve the issue effectively. However, there are certain eye conditions, such as pink eye, where urgent medical care is needed. Conjunctivitis or pink eye is a highly contagious disease that occurs when the tissue lining of the eyelid is inflamed due to viral or bacterial infection. Light fever, viscous discharge, blurred vision, and red, watery eyes are the common symptoms of pink eye.
Respiratory infections, particularly of the upper respiratory tract, are the most common type of medical condition that is treated at urgent care facilities. These infections are really bothersome and people don’t want to wait for primary care appointments for a treatment. In most respiratory infections, the throat, larynx, sinuses, and nasal cavity bear the brunt.
Oftentimes, viral respiratory infections become contagious and many people are suffering from them at the same time. This means it can become even more difficult to get a quick appointment with your primary care physician. In such situations, urgent care facilities come in handy. Chest congestion, sneezing, intense coughing, and body fatigue are the most common symptoms of respiratory infections.
Whiplash is a neck/head injury caused by a sudden and quick jerk of the cervical vertebrae. For people playing football, this injury is very common. Pain, stiffness in the affected area, and throbbing headache are some of the common signs of a whiplash injury. Painkiller medications and physical therapies are given by attendants at urgent care to alleviate the effects of whiplash.
Urinary Tract Infection
Bacterial infections of the urinary tract can affect people of all ages. However, mostly women become affected by Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). These infections of moderate levels can be easily treated at urgent care facilities with the administration of prescription drugs. For severe cases of UTI, it is advised to plan a comprehensive treatment because it can spread to the kidneys.
Patients who are suffering from ear and yeast infections can also avail the medical treatment of urgent care facilities if they don’t want to wait longer for regular doctor appointments.
Symptoms can help you know if urgent care is the right choice
Sometimes, you are not sure of your medical wellbeing. You feel different, and not in a good way. For all those physical symptoms where you are not feeling good and want to get immediate medical assistance, urgent care facilities are the best answer. Let’s see which symptoms can be taken care of at urgent care facilities.
Rashes seem very harmless, but they can cause a lot of trouble. No one wants to spend even a minute with painful, itchy, and unrelenting sensation on the skin and rashes bring exactly all of this. Rashes are not always caused by any adverse external environment. You can even get them with the exposure to any specific type of fabric or jewelry. Soaps, detergents, and cosmetic products can also cause skin rashes. Parasite bites are also notorious for exasperating skin rashes.
If you can’t treat them with home remedies, then there is no need to put up with the irritation of rashes. You must visit the nearest urgent care facility to get rid of the physical symptoms of rashes, and to get back your peace of mind.
Lymph nodes or glands can be inflamed due to many different health anomalies. Skin, sinus, and ear infections can lead to swollen glands. Moreover, periodontal diseases can also lead to swollen lymph nodes. If you are feeling a bulge on the either side of your neck and it’s making you uncomfortable, then instead of waiting for the issue to resolve on its own, it is better to have a doctor’s checkup from any nearby urgent care facility.
Minor Abdominal Pains and Cramps
From food poisoning to menstrual cycles, abdominal pains and cramps can occur for variety of reasons. Even though they are not of intolerable levels, they may still make it very difficult for the affected individual to act and work just like any other day. Therefore, it is better to go to an urgent care facility and have a checkup. Their physicians can correctly diagnose the underlying reason for these pains and prescribe the relevant medications and guidance to treat them.
Even though the majority of people prefer to go for over-the-counter drugs and home remedies to treat headaches, many times these low potency options fail. In that case, instead of going to the ER and getting expensive medical bills, it is better to get an immediate headache treatment at any nearby urgent care facility.
Besides these discussed symptoms, you can visit an urgent care facility when you are just not feeling well and don’t know how to undo that unpleasant sensation.
Benefits of Using Urgent Care as Immediate Medical Assistance
Urgent care facilities have an edge on primary care physicians and ERs for a variety of reasons. Let’s see why it is a better choice to go to any urgent care facility for the above-discussed medical conditions.
Fully Professional Treatment
It is important to understand that urgent care facilities are not makeshift healthcare establishments, where rooky practitioners are stationed. Qualified and experienced physicians serve there, provided with all the necessary equipment to diagnose and treat any medical condition that needs immediate assistance.
No Long Wait Times
For many patients, this is the number one concern and rightly so. We generally hate to wait, even when all is good with our health. Waiting becomes more detestable when you are not feeling well or reeling from pain. We know that wait times for primary care appointments can extend to weeks. On the other hand, ERs also are always swarmed with patients, particularly with very serious cases.
In a situation in which you are not suffering from any life-threatening condition but also want to get rid of the inconvenience and suffering of the illness or injury immediately, urgent care facilities are always a good option. You can get relief from the illness on the same day without spending a lot of money and without making any prior appointments.
Urgent care facilities provide very cost-effective treatment to those patients who are not suffering from any life-threatening condition. ERs can be very expensive and therefore they should be preferred only when the illness or injury is very serious in nature.
Nearly 90 percent of urgent care facilities in the U.S. are located in major cities. This means many people easily can find an urgent care facility in their radius without exhausting time and money on the commute.
As mentioned earlier, you will not be required to make any prior appointment to get medical assistance in urgent care facilities. Just enter the premises, wait for a short time and you will be treated accordingly.
Urgent care facilities are an integral part of your healthcare sector. They are open seven days per week and most of them serve even after working hours, making them an ideal choice for immediate medical treatment.
Schedule your appointment to see our team of healthcare professionals and get the treatment you deserve!