Americans young and old need medical attention from time to time, especially when they are ill, suffered an injury, or are going through some other medical condition. Whenever this happens, it is important to know when to use urgent care, or when to visit the emergency room. When to use urgent care? Urgent care centers can be found across the United States, and they can handle a wide variety of health problems when a patient visits. But for serious injuries and life-threatening conditions, it is imperative that the victim is taken to emergency rooms instead, where they can make a full recovery. When a victim needs care, a nearby responsible adult can look up urgent or emergency care services nearby with a PC or a smart phone if they don’t already know a place, and specify what sort of care they are looking for. They may also look up a 24 hour urgent or emergency care center if the search is being made at an odd time of day. This can save a life.
Why You Need Emergency Care
Emergency care and urgent care may sound like a similar concept, but in fact they are two different branches of medical attention. For serious and life-threatening injuries or conditions, a patient must be taken to an emergency clinic or to a hospital’s ER, or emergency room, right away. The doctors and physicians there will have the training and tools needed to get a patient out of harm’s way. A patient may visit emergency care, for example, if they have major chest pain or difficulty breathing, either of which can soon turn life-threatening. In other cases, a patient at the ER has suffered from bullet or stab wounds, and they may be bleeding heavily or have internal organ damage. Broken arms or legs also justify a visit to the ER, and a patient may get this level of care for eyeball or head injuries, such as a concussion.
Some medical clinic are in fact a hybrid of emergency and urgent care centers, which is helpful since it may not always be clear what level of care a patient needs. Some people may take a victim to emergency care services if they are not sure, which is a sensible route to take. But if possible, the victim could be taken to an emergency/urgent hybrid clinic, which offers all level of care. That may be very convenient and helpful, and a person may look up those clinics in particular for a victim. Meanwhile, one may wonder: when to use urgent care?
When to Use Urgent Care Services
Emergency care is for life-threatening illnesses and injuries, but emergency care is not a catch-all for all medical problems. Many illnesses and wounds are minor enough so that an ER is not necessary. In fact, given the expense and time frame of an ER visit, going there for minor medical cases is highly inefficient. That, and other patients may badly need that ER space, so patients with minor health problems can and usually should visit any of the many urgent care clinics found across the United States. Ever since the 1990s, many of these clinics have been built, over 2,000 of them, and a city or town may have several such clinics to offer.
Urgent care clinics are often built into strip malls for easy access, and others may be built into a retailer, known as retail clinics. These retail clinics usually have a pharmacy in them with trained staff on hand, helpful for shoppers who want to get a prescription drug refill during their shopping trip. Meanwhile, other urgent care clinics are found in hospitals, known as hospital clinics. It should be noted that hospital clinics offer distinct and separate care and services than the hospital itself.
Patients often visit urgent care clinics not only for the pharmacy, but also to get medicinal relief from the cold or flu during influenza season. Four in five urgent care clinics offer treatment for bone fractures, and the nurse practitioners working there can treat ankle or wrist sprains. Nurses may also offer bandages and stitches for shallow cuts, and they can provide lotion and ointment for bad rashes and sunburn, or related skin issues.