Does flu season wreak having on your immune system? Do you find yourself constantly coughing and sneezing during the fall and winter months? Do you bruise easily or are you always getting cuts and scrapes?
If you’re looking for treatment for any of the things described above, you might first opt to make an appointment with your primary care physician or visit an emergency room if the issue is serious enough. But let’s be honest, an ER trip means a long wait and it can take days or weeks to get in to see your doctor.
What’s left to do? You can get fast, easy treatment at an urgent care clinic. An urgent care is a walk-in clinic where you’ll have shorter wait times, lower costs and you’ll get treatment from certified medical professionals. It’s no wonder then that more than three million Americans visit urgent care locations every single week.
Why visit an urgent care? Your local urgent care can treat a whole host of symptoms including ear infections, flu symptoms, STDs, sprains, dizziness, strains, back pain, colds, fevers and sports injuries among other ailments.
As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll get in a lot faster to see a doctor. Your average urgent care facility offers a wait time of 15 minutes or less. As an added bonus, most urgent cares stay open later (think 7-9 p.m.) and some are open on weekends, which offers you flexibility and relief if you get sick on a Saturday.
For serious, can’t-wait medical issues, don’t hesitate to visit the emergency room. It’s best not to roll the dice on your health, just to save a few bucks. There’s no doubting the importance of emergency rooms and emergency room doctors, especially for severe injuries and severe illnesses. But if you’ve got a non-life-threatening injury or illness, an urgent care facility is the place to go. You’ll get to see experienced medical professionals and save yourself a lot of time, money and aggravation.
Like almost anything, there are pros and cons that come with a trip to your local urgent care and it’s important to know a few things before you make the choice to go:
- Pro—Cost: One of the biggest benefits of urgent cares is that they offer top-rate medical care at affordable costs. You likely know from experience just how big a bill you get from a trip to the hospital. If you’re on a budget, urgent cares are the places to go because they offer price transparency: they offer a list of medications and treatments you can take a look at before you have to buy anything.
- Con—Potentially higher costs: It’s true that urgent cares can help you save money, but you may find you’ll be paying more money over time. Why is that? Since urgent care locations are so easy and convenient to visit, you may, unintentionally or not, grow accustomed to visiting an urgent care every time you or a family member has a medical issue, rather than letting a sickness run its course, trying over-the-counter meds or home remedies.
- Pro—Convenience: If you’ve got a busy schedule and are always on the go, you’re in need of fast, convenient treatment options. You’ll get exactly that at your local urgent care. They’re easy to find and offer you access to quick treatments for everyday ailments, including Z-packs and flu shots.
- Con—Deferral to hospital: If you’re feeling under the weather or you’ve got an injury, it helps to have a little bit of knowledge about the severity of your symptoms. Why? When you visit an urgent care center, you’re doing so for fast, convenient treatment. If your illness or injury is worse than expected, your urgent care facility is likely going to refer you to the hospital for treatment. So before you go in for treatment, take time (if you can) to do some research into your issues to figure out the best plan for medical treatment.
For common, everyday ailments and injuries, an urgent care is the place to go. You’ll get in and out with the proper medical treatment, allowing you to get on with your day and on the road to recovery.