Say that you get sick after your doctor’s office is closed, but you know you don’t really need to go to the emergency room. What do you do? Do you suffer through until you can get a doctor’s appointment? Unfortunately, many people do just that, or endure long wait lines (and incur high medical bills) in the ER for comparatively simple treatments. But the better option in these cases is finding urgent care facilities. You can usually be seen at urgent care 24 hours a day, with minimal wait times and lower bills. Here’s some of what urgent care centers can (and can’t) provide:
- Moderate Injury Care
Urgent care can put in stitches for moderate cuts and wounds. A good way to tell whether a cut is serious enough to send you to the ER is to assess the amount of bleeding, which is actually greater cause for concern than the cut itself. If you (or your loved one) is rapidly losing blood, then you should head straight for the ER. If the cut is too serious for a Band-Aid but is only oozing blood, then urgent care is a better bet. Similarly, an urgent care center can probably set a simple broken bone like a finger or toe, but a compound fibular fracture should have you calling an ambulance and on your way to the hospital.
- Infection and Illness Treatment
If you’re experiencing something that would usually send you to one of your family care physicians, such as strep throat or an infection requiring antibiotics, urgent care centers should be able to handle it. There’s often a time factor when it comes to infections, so it’s best to get them taken care of as soon as possible.
- Special Services
Some 24 hour walk in clinics also offer discreet services if you’re looking for something like same day STD testing. Urgent care centers normally have labs on site to get you faster results on STD testing procedures, and you can ensure the results stay private, depending on your situation. Women may want to look specifically for a women’s health clinic.
Remember that an urgent care center shouldn’t replace your normal primary care physician, but rather supplement regular doctor’s visits.
Have you used urgent care before, for anything from same day STD testing to stitches? Share your experience in the comments!
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