When Medical Issues Arise, Consider Urgent Care


When sudden medical problems occur many people's first thoughts are the Emergency Room or their general practitioner. While both provide medical care, there are significant downsides to either option. Emergency room visits can be costly and are typically supposed to be reserved for traumatic injuries or other immediate health events that might need immediate medical attention. In some cities emergency rooms can become overcrowded and have increased waits, especially during ongoing public health crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. 


General practice visits generally take time to set up (requiring an appointment in advance) and while they can be cheaper, immediate medical concerns cannot typically be addressed at the doctor’s office. Urgent care is the third option, and one that can prove to be your best choice. Urgent Care functions like a combination of an Emergency room and Doctors office. You do not typically need to make an appointment in advance and the nurses and doctors on hand can help diagnose your sickness or injury.

So What Specifically is Urgent Care?

Urgent Care is medical care administered to individuals that have urgent medical need, but do NOT have life threatening conditions. Urgent care is a good option for injuries that may be serious, like a deep cut to the hand or foot, but are not putting the injured person at immediate risk of loss of life. There are many Urgent Care centers around the United States, many cities having several different Urgent Care options available. Making use of Urgent Care services is important in any medical system, as those with serious injuries that do need medical attention can get access, without depriving those with life threatening conditions from emergency or trauma room level care.

When Can You Get Urgent Care?

Urgent Care is provided to a person that needs immediate medical care that is not life threatening, and because medical issues and injuries can arise at any time, many Urgent Care centers are open 24/7. It is important to keep in mind that Urgent Care centers are not hospitals, and while some may be located near hospitals, they are not equipped for major surgeries or other expensive medical treatment options. Some of the minor injuries that a person can have treated at an urgent care center include small cuts and bruises, abdominal pain, body and joint aches, sprains, illnesses, high fever, cold, and flu. All these issues are generally considered minor and not life threatening. Urgent Care centers will usually start with an examination and a preliminary diagnosis. If the Urgent Care physician determines that your condition is life threatening, they will arrange for transportation to the nearest hospital.

Life threatening conditions are not treated at Urgent Care centers. Conditions that involve difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, or seizures are examples of conditions that should be treated at an emergency room. If one has a medical condition that is time sensitive but not life threatening they can also visit an urgent care center. For example, if you have a fever or diarrhea that keeps worsening by the hour getting urgent care is appropriate. Urgent care can provide the right medication to curb the symptoms, or direct you to more in depth medical treatment if necessary.

What To Expect:

On arrival at the urgent care center, the physicians will take a look at your symptoms and examine you before diagnosis. For example, if you fell, the physicians will perform an X-ray to make sure there are no broken bones. A few other tests that may be provided by your local Urgent Care are blood tests, CAT scans, mammography, and ultrasounds. If you can be treated at the Urgent Care center you will be, otherwise you will be transferred to an Emergency room for care if necessary, or discharged. Compared to an Emergency Room visit your fee will be lower and you will generally have a shorter wait time. Even without an appointment the typical wait time at your average Urgent Care center is about 30 minutes (With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic medical centers are under greater stress so wait times may be greater in your area).

If you are experiencing medical issues that you believe are serious but do not pose immediate danger to your life then you should consider an Urgent Care center for treatment. You can search for Urgent Care locations through a variety of websites, such as SolvHealth.com.