- December 6, 2022
What Is Urgent Care and What Do You Need To Know?
What is Urgent Care?
When the term “urgent care” pops into your head, the first thing that comes to mind is a hospital. But urgent care can be just as important — and just as helpful — when it comes to treating common illnesses and injuries. Urgent care centers are less expensive than traditional primary care doctors’ offices, don’t require regular doctor visits and can take care of many non-emergency issues on-site.
Urgent care differs from traditional primary care. A general doctor is a specialist, who treats a wide range of conditions. A primary care physician typically sees patients for chronic diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension.
Urgent care doctors see patients with non-life-threatening issues and can provide immediate treatment without having to wait for an appointment at their clinic or hospital. This means they can treat problems that require immediate attention but don’t necessarily require admission into the hospital’s emergency room. Urgent care centers can also help you manage your health by providing preventive services like vaccinations, screenings for cancer, and other types of disease management services that are often only available through traditional medical practices like urgent room visitations–but only if needed!
How does urgent care differ from the emergency room?
Urgent care is a step above the emergency room, which can be used for non-emergency medical needs. The distinction between the two is that urgent care centers are open 24 hours a day and provide immediate treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, such as sprains and lacerations. If you have severe symptoms of an illness like chest pain or nausea with vomiting, it’s best to visit your primary physician instead of going straight to an urgent care center.
Why Go to Urgent Care?
Some medical issues that require immediate attention but are not actual emergencies can be handled at urgent care facilities, which are same-day clinics.
When you have an urgent condition, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Urgent care can help you get the treatment that you need without having to wait in the emergency room or take time off from work.
Urgent care can treat minor illnesses and injuries, including stitches and splints. If your injury needs to be treated right away, go to urgent care instead of an emergency room—you’ll have less time waiting in the ER and will get better treatment right away.
How Urgent Care Works
Urgent care centers are outpatient facilities that provide basic medical services to patients who need immediate attention. You can go to urgent care without an appointment, but you may need to wait a short time before being seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner.
Urgent care centers treat the most common illnesses and injuries, including cuts and scrapes, sprains and strains, sore throats, headaches, and colds/flu symptoms. In some cases, they will also treat more serious conditions like broken bones or lacerations that require stitches or sutures. The goal of urgent care is not just getting you back on your feet quickly; it’s also about making sure that no lasting damage has been done as soon as possible so you can get healthier faster than if left untreated at home by yourself.
What Classifies a Patient as Urgent
Urgent care is for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. This can include cuts and scrapes, sprains, bruises, and strains. You should not go to urgent care if you are having a heart attack or stroke; severe bleeding or vomiting; fever over 102 degrees; or if you have an injury that requires immediate medical attention from a doctor.
Most Common Urgent Care Visits
The most common reasons people visit urgent care centers include:
- Non-life-threatening conditions like cuts or bruises, sprains, and strains;
- Pain medication;
- Broken bones (such as ankle sprains);
- Diagnosis of illnesses such as strep throat or flu symptoms;
- Infection prevention tests such as blood cultures or urine cultures
- sore throat
- sinus infections
- ear infections
How Much Does Urgent Care Cost?
Urgent care centers are often much less expensive than a trip to the emergency room, and they can help you avoid the wait time and paperwork that comes with an ER visit. If you don’t have insurance, or if your plan doesn’t cover urgent care visits, it’s important to know how much your visit will cost before getting treatment.
Without insurance, the fees for a basic Level I urgent care appointment range from $80 to $280. For an advanced Level II visit, the cost could range from $140 to $440. The price of your visit also depends on where you are.
Urgent care is the best option for affordability and convenience, whether it’s for a fever, a sore throat, or even a sports injury. If you have an illness or medical issue that needs urgent attention but is not an emergency, it’s best to visit an urgent care center rather than the emergency room.
Naz Kleiman is a ANCC board-certified Nurse Practitioner with over 13 years of nursing experience in trauma nursing, primary care, women’s health, urgent care, workmen’s comp, allergy testing and family medicine. She graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Walden University with Master of Science in Nursing.