In 2016, there were nearly 150 million emergency room visits. That’s a huge number, right? That’s because many people visit the emergency room without realizing they have a cheaper and more convenient option.
Of the ten most common reasons for emergency room visits, an urgent care center can treat many of them. You’ve probably heard of urgent care centers but aren’t sure when or why to use them.
In some cases, it might be better to visit urgent care in place of an emergency room. When you need prompt treatment, it’s a decision that could one day save your life. Here are ten reasons why you should visit urgent care.
What is Urgent Care?
An urgent care center provides non-critical medical services for patients in immediate need.
For life-threatening emergencies, a patient should always use an emergency room. But when you need the help of a doctor, and yours isn’t available, an urgent care center is your best option.
In addition to prompt medical care, urgent care centers also offer a variety of medical services normally performed by your primary physician.
Convenient Reasons to Visit Urgent Care
Urgent care centers exist in their own niche, serving as an intermediary between a doctor’s office and emergency room. With that in mind, here are a few reasons to go to Urgent Care rather than your other options.
1. Accommodating Hours
Urgent care centers stay open later than most doctor’s offices. When you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in the evening hours, your doctor might not be available.
The pain isn’t life-threatening, but you’d like some medical attention to make it more manageable. What do you do? You visit urgent care because they’re open late and you don’t need critical medical services from an emergency room.
2. Short Wait Times
Emergency rooms have notorious wait times. Hospitals first treat patients who require immediate life-saving procedures. This means you could be waiting hours for simple stitches or pain relief.
Urgent care has shorter wait times in comparison and isn’t overcrowded like most emergency rooms.
3. Flexible Services
In addition to moderate medical care, an urgent care center offers general medical services. These might include physicals, drug tests, and even STD exams.
You might opt to use an urgent care facility for these services when your doctor has inconvenient appointments or the facility is closer to your home.
Curious of what an urgent care center can do for you? Take a look at some urgent care services.
4. Affordable Prices
Just like your doctor, an urgent care center accepts most major insurance providers. Prices are usually comparable for most services. In fact, most patients will only have to pay their insurance’s co-pay.
In comparison to an emergency room, Urgent Care is far cheaper. At least 30% of ER visits are considered non-urgent. If non-urgent patients chose to use their doctor or Urgent Care instead, they would collectively save $4.4 billion every year.
You don’t have to go broke to afford good healthcare services. Urgent Care is a great example of that.
Medical Reasons to Visit Urgent Care
Those were some convenient reasons why you might visit urgent care. But let’s get more specific with medical circumstances. Rather than visiting the emergency room, consider an urgent care center for the following medical issues:
5. Troubling Infections
An infection isn’t going to take you out of commission overnight. However, they can be itchy, painful, and worrying. Rather than waiting for treatment the next day, an urgent care center can provide the antibiotics you need.
The alternative is sitting on the emergency room for several hours, holding a bag of hot water against your infected ear. That won’t be fun.
6. Minor Injuries
Did you step on a nail or suffer from a minor cut? Urgent care can stitch you back together. For larger and more complex lacerations, you’ll need the expertise of an emergency room.
7. Moderate Pain
From headaches to toothaches, we all experience debilitating pain from time to time. Let’s say you chipped your tooth in the evening hours, but your dentist just closed shop for the night.
Toothaches can be absolutely unbearable. But that’s just the thing: you don’t need to bear it. Urgent care can take the edge off until your dentist is ready for you in the morning.
8. Cold and Fever
When you’re lying in bed, struggling to sleep with flu-like symptoms, it’s time to get some medical assistance. Start fighting your illness right away with helpful medication from an urgent care center.
Since common illnesses are simple to diagnose and care for, you probably won’t even have to visit your doctor the next day.
An asthma attack could become a life-threatening situation if left untreated. As soon as you start experiencing asthma symptoms, have a friend take you to an urgent care center right away.
This is true for any breathing difficulties, which could be allergy-related or stem from a serious illness, such as bronchitis. If you’re having trouble breathing, don’t wait until the next day to get diagnosed.
Many people disregard the severity of diarrhea. When your body isn’t able to absorb water, you run the risk of experiencing acute dehydration — or worse.
Time is of the essence. When your doctor isn’t available, rely on an urgent care facility.
Add Urgent Care to Your Healthcare Options
Since Urgent Care is newer and unpromoted, few people know to visit urgent care in certain situations. You’ll save money and time by using Urgent Care for non-serious medical emergencies. Plus, it’s far better than opting to wait for your doctor the next morning.
If you want more healthcare advice, scroll through the helpful articles in the healthcare section.