It’s an everyday nightmare for most parents: at 8 pm on a Friday night, their child starts coughing and reports feeling tired. By the next morning, they have a fever and may even be vomiting. A quick web search will show that these are common signs of the flu, an infection of the nose, throat and lungs that can become quite serious and is very contagious. A parent’s first impulse will be to take their child to see a physician. However, their local doctor’s office is closed for the weekend and would likely require an appointment. The child could, of course, be seen at an emergency room, but their condition is probably not yet serious to warrant a hospital visit. Moreover, emergency room can often be very expensive. With these factors to consider, how can the parent access medical care for their child?
Fortunately, there is a third option that is growing increasingly common in the United States: urgent care centers, which are designed to help relieve pressure on hospitals and doctors offices by providing treatment for a variety of non-life-threatening medical conditions. Currently, there are an estimated 160 million urgent care clinic visits every year in the U.S. And to the relief of many parents, these centers offer pediatric urgent care centers, making them the perfect treatment option for those untimely cases of the flu, as well as many other medical issues children face.
Urgent care facilities offer a number of benefits to the average patients: firstly, 70% of urgent care centers are open by 8 AM, and many are also open 7 days a week for convenience. After hours urgent care is available at many locations, as most centers are open late into the night, or even a full 24 hours, making it easy to access medical care at almost any time. Secondly, instead of requiring patients to schedule an appointment, urgent care facilities see patients immediately, further reducing the hassle of accessing treatment. Thirdly, a visit to an urgent care facility will typically charge a co-pay relative to the cost of a traditional doctor’s visit, making even convenient after hours urgent care considerably more affordable than the emergency room.
In addition to their convenience, urgent care centers offer reliable care for a variety of common, non-critical medical problems. Typically, an urgent care clinic can evaluate a patient’s needs and prescribe necessary medication, such as antibiotics and pain medication, in a single visit. And with after hours urgent care services becoming increasingly common, even those late night fevers and untimely flu symptoms can be treated before they become serious. The next time you or your family is questioning where to get medical treatment, consider visiting the nearest urgent care clinic. Helpful links.