Taking a trip to your local urgent care center can be a confusing and nervous time. It is important to know if the trip is really necessary before you waste valuable time and money. Urgent cares are also convenient for cases not serious enough for the emergency room but still require immediate attention. Urgent cares are open at most hours, including 24-hour urgent care, so you can access it even at the most inconvenient times. In some more severe cases, you may be wondering if your condition is needed to be treated at the emergency room. Because of long wait times at emergency rooms and higher co-payments, urgent care visits may be the better choice.
Upon visiting the urgent care, it is important to bring the right documents with you since they do not carry extensive records of medical history as a doctor’s office would. You should bring with you your most recent health insurance information and the names of any prescription medication you are currently taking. It is also beneficial to know any significant medical diagnoses you have had. Children who are minors also must have a parental authorization form.
Are Some Symptoms Better Treated at Urgent Care?
Conditions that may dictate a visit to urgent care include allergies, colds, flu, and sore throats. These illnesses can usually be treated through medicine and do not last for a super long time. However, in more severe cases, sore throats can be an indicator of a more severe condition. In these cases, your local urgent care can point you in the right direction. Fevers are another illness usually treatable through urgent care. They can provide the necessary antibiotics and treatments to lower the fever. However, a fever with a rash should be treated in the emergency room.
When is it too Serious for Urgent Care?
For more serious health ailments, you should go straight to the emergency room. If urgent care cannot provide you with the care you need, depending on the severity of the illness, they may immediately transfer you to the emergency room. Urgent care facilities do not have access to extended patient observation or specialty consultation. Some symptoms that require immediate hospital attention include severing headache, severe vomiting, chest pains, difficulty breathing, bleeding that will not stop, dizziness, and unconsciousness. However, some urgent care centers can do treatments on small lacerations or fractures, depending on the severity of the injury. If the bone is broken and sticking out, go straight to the emergency room.
Do Your Research Before You Get Sick or Hurt
Depending on your needs, it may be beneficial to research and find the best urgent care for you. It is important that the center you choose takes your healthcare plan, if applicable, to reduce your out-of-pocket fees. Some urgent care centers even communicate with your primary doctor if needed. There are also facilities that specialize in pediatric care, which is a major bonus if you need health care for your little one. Other clinics may specialize in treating women’s health issues. It is important to be aware of your local urgent care along with its specialties if any, and its operating hours so you may be prepared when health issues arise.
Urgent Care centers are both convenient and affordable. They can be very beneficial for treating a common cold, fever, cough, or common health ailments. For more specific treatment, you should see if your local urgent care specializes in that type of care. If you or a loved one are in need of emergency or serious health care, you should go straight to the emergency room and save yourself the trip. Trust your gut, and if you feel an emergency room visit is necessary then go straight there.