In everyday life, Americans young and old may sometimes suffer from wounds or illnesses that call for medical attention. A person may need flu treatment, stomach flu medicine, or allergy relief, or they may need stitches for a cut. For everyday ailments like this, a person should be taken to a medical care clinic, or an urgent care clinic. An adult who needs flu treatment may be able to drive themselves to such a clinic for care, while a child or very ill person who needs flu treatment should be taken to a clinic by a responsible adult. A person can look for a nearby urgent care clinic with an online search on a PC or a smart phone, such as “urgent care near me southern Los Angeles” or “24 hour urgent care Chicago” to find a local site. A person may also use their ZIP code in a search to find something local. What might a patient expect from urgent care today?
On Urgent Care
These care facilities are often open 24 hours a day, and those that aren’t may still have broad hours of operation all the same. These are small and independent clinics that may sometimes be in small networks with each other; other times, they are built into a strip mall or another facility. A retail clinic, for example, may be built into a larger, commercial retailer such as Target, Walmart, or Walgreens. These larger retailers are easy to find and have ample parking spaces, so they can be convenient for a customer to visit. Such clinics often have pharmacies in them, so a shopper can visit to refill their drug prescription as well as their ordinary shopping. These clinics may have similar hours of operation as the retailer they are built into.
Some urgent care clinics are built into hospitals. A patient at such a clinic, however, should note that there is no overlap between the medical services offered by the clinic and the hospital itself. Treatments and staff are kept separate. Overall, however, these integrated clinics can make a hospital more flexible for patients, since some patients may need the hospital’s own care services while others may need the clinic in particular.
A clinic will be staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who will have the expertise and medicine needed to treat a wide variety of ailments, such as offering flu treatment and much more. If a clinic is running smoothly, the staff may be able to treat three patients per hour on average, and a patient in the clinic may expect a wait time of about 15 minutes. Many clinics may accept various healthcare insurance policies, but a patient may want to check this ahead of time.
Treatment at the Clinic
Why might someone visit an urgent care center or a walk in clinic? Illness is a common reason to visit. During cold and flu season, patients may visit to get medicine for relief, and flu treatment may be found here along with cold medicine. A person may also visit a clinic for an upper respiratory illness. In fact, back in 2012, upper respiratory infections were the most common reason for Americans visiting these clinics. A patient may also get ointment for skin rashes or allergies, and they may get medicine for an upset stomach as well. Most clinics have pharmacies to offer drug refills for guests. Poison ivy rashes, especially serious ones, may be reason to visit these clinics, and 85% of Americans are allergic to the self-defense oils of this plant. Lotions and ointment can offer relief from rashes.
Wounds are another reason to visit these clinics. Four out of five urgent care clinics offer treatment for bone fractures, and most clinics can also handle ankle or wrist sprains as well. Many American sprain their wrists or ankles during sports, and some 25,000 Americans get ankle sprains per day. The nurses at these clinics can also offer stitches and bandages for shallower cuts, such as if a patient stepped on broken glass or mishandled a knife. The staff at a clinic may also be able to treat broken fingers or toes.