Knowing When to Visit Walk In Clinics

Every day, many Americans both young and old will get injured or ill, and they will need some professional medical attention. So, a nearby responsible adult can look for urgent care clinics, emergency care centers such as a hospital’s ER, or any other medical site to help them. Children and babies, in particular, should be taken to pediatric urgent care centers. If the helper does not already know a nearby urgent care clinic, they can look up walk in clinics nearby with a PC or smartphone with a query such as “24 hour urgent care clinic nearby”, or anything to that effect. This can bring up a whole list of urgent care clinics or emergency clinics nearby, along with the hours of operation, name, and address of each one. In some cases, this can save a life. So, what is the real difference between urgent care clinics and emergency care clinics?

Getting Emergency Care

Just what is emergency care? To put it simply, this level of care concerns itself with life-threatening and other severe medical cases that urgent care clinics cannot handle. An emergency room will be staffed with doctors and physicians who have the proper training and medicine to save a life, and stabilize a patient so they may recover. Many emergency care sites are open 24 hours a day, too. A patient may need the ER if they have suffered a broken arm or leg, for example, or if the patient has injuries on their head or their eyeballs. The same is true if the patient has sustained bullet wounds or stab wounds, which might be bleeding heavily (and there might be organ damage, too). Chest pain and difficulty breathing also call for emergency care, since these conditions might turn life threatening at any moment, if they are not already. Victims who just suffered a heart attack or stroke also need the ER. And as for abdominal pain, most cases are in fact harmless, but if the pain is severe, sudden, and/or long lasting, then the ER is the safest option. The underlying cause might be quite serious.

Take note that emergency care is not a catch-all medical site, and the ER should be reserved for patients who are in serious condition. Minor medical cases can and probably should be taken care of at an urgent care clinic instead, which is often cheaper and faster than going to emergency services anyway. But in some cases, it might be difficult to tell what level of care a victim needs, so they can be taken to a hybrid clinic. These clinics offer both urgent and emergency care side by side, making them flexible and convenient for all guests.

Getting Urgent Care

Meanwhile, urgent care can handle minor medical cases that require professional aid, but are not serious enough for the ER. Fortunately, this is a large and ever-growing part of the medical industry, and well over 2,000 urgent care centers can be found across the United States today. Most often, these urgent care clinics and walk in clinics are small and independent, staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can handle minor medical cases among their patients. These urgent care clinics might sometimes form local networks with one another, and they often run smoothly. In many cases, a clinic may see three patients per hour. These clinics can often be found in strip malls for easy parking and access, though some are found in large retailers for the convenience of shoppers. Yet other clinics might be found in a hospital, offering distinct care (and staff) from the hospital itself.

Guests at an urgent care center may visit the pharmacy there to pick up prescription drug refills, and during influenza season, guests may also get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu, too. The nurses on staff can provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, and they may also offer lotion and ointment for cases of sunburn or rashes. Four in five such clinics offer treatment for bone fractures, and most clinics also offer treatment for sprained wrists or ankles (which are quite common injuries). Upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit urgent care centers.