Ask-A-Doc, November

Posted 10/07/19 (Mon)

When to Choose Urgent Care?

Answer from Dr. Jeff Hostetter.

Q: What exactly is Urgent Care and when would I need it?

A: There has been a lot of buzz around the words ‘Urgent Care’ lately. You may have even gone to an Urgent Care clinic without even realizing it. But knowing what Urgent Care clinics can help you make the right health decisions for your or a family member.

Urgent care visits are short walk-in visits that focus on an acute illness or a sudden medical issue that are not emergencies or chronic medical problems, like diabetes. Urgent care offers patients easy access to a provider without waiting days to be seen in the clinic or visiting the emergency room because you just can’t wait. What may be difficult is deciding which one is appropriate. 

Basically, urgent care clinics are for any non-life-threatening problem uncomfortable enough that waiting until tomorrow doesn’t sound appealing. Think illnesses such as a cold or the flu, minor cuts or burns, urinary tract infections, and animal bites or stings. 

However, an urgent care clinic does have its limitations. They should not be used for emergency situations such as severe trauma, excessive bleeding, chest pain, or any other medical condition that could be life-threatening. These conditions call for an emergency room visit. 

Urgent care clinics can be great for addressing minor ailments, but they are not a replacement for a comprehensive visit with your primary doctor. You should make an appointment to see your primary care provider for medication refills, chronic care condition, and annual preventative health exams.

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