What to Know When Choosing a Urgent Care Facility

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One of the most popular facets of the American health care system is urgent care. Centers that provide this type of immediate healthcare treatment are often open 24 hours and can be extremely valuable when you cannot make a proper appointment with your physician. Here are five quick facts to keep in mind when looking for a urgent care center:

1. How does a urgent care center work?

Urgent care is also sometimes called immediate care, and for good reason. A urgent care center is walk in clinic that typically treats patients within 15 minutes of arriving. That is it. No appointment needed, unlike with your primary care physician.

2. Why not just go see my doctor?

As doctors take on more and more patients, there is less and less time being spent with each one. This means you might not be able to see your doctor when you need to. When this happens, a urgent care clinic staffed with its own doctors is likely your best option for fast, reliable treatment.

3. Where can I find a urgent care facility?

About 75 percent of urgent care centers are located in the suburbs. This is in contrast to many hospitals, which are found in more urban areas. The Urgent Care Association of America reports that Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago are the cities with the most urgent care centers in the United States. In your area, you can likely find urgent care in either free-standing buildings or medical plazas or retail centers.

4. Will a urgent care center have the medical resources I need?

Absolutely. More and more facilities are becoming equipped with X-ray and other machines for maximum health treatment. In addition, a number of urgent care centers are opting for point-of-care dispensing, which would allow you to leave the facility with your prescription right in your hands.

5. What if I have an emergency?

Of course, if you have a life-threatening injury or illness, the emergency room is the right place for you. Urgent care provides treatment for sprains, allergy issues, respiratory illnesses, dehydration, rashes and more. If you have a true life-or-death situation, seek emergency room care immediately.

It is important to note that urgent care is not emergency care. But it can still be a valuable resource if you need a quick treatment option for a non life-threatening injury or illness. There is probably a urgent care center nearby you. Remember it. More on this.

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