What You Need to Know About Urgent Care Centers

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By: Krystle Crossman

Urgent care centers have popped up all over the country. They are a great choice if you need to be seen right away but don’t feel that it is serious enough for the ER. There are some things that everyone should know about urgent care though to make sure they are getting the appropriate treatment:

1. You are most likely not going to get your regular prescriptions refilled at urgent care. Your doctor knows your history and is the one overseeing your regular care so urgency care is not the place to manage regular medicine.

2. The wait times can be extensive if you go during busy times. Early morning and late in the evening can be the busiest times so if it is something that can wait, hold off until midday when the wait times are lower. If you go early in the morning you may end up being in the waiting room until that time anyway!

3. Urgent care centers can take care of most cuts unless you have cut through a bone, tendon, or have come close to losing a limb. If you have sliced your hand open with a knife while cooking or something of that nature urgent care should be able to help.

4. There are some things that urgent care cannot take care of. If you have any of the following symptoms you need to go to the ER: seizure or fainting, severe headache, chest pain, severe abdominal pain, poisoning or an overdose, head trauma, severe bleeding, loss of vision, weakness or tingling.

5. Urgent care can treat a good amount of illnesses and ailments. They have x-rays on site and can take care of fractures and sprains. They can take care of most lacerations. They can even administer IVs for things such as dehydration.

6. Don’t call asking if you should come in, they are probably going to tell you yes. It is hard to treat someone over the phone without seeing them and seeing their demeanor so you may as well just go in.

7. You still need a primary doctor even if you have an urgent care center in your area. Your regular doctor is there for everything in life, urgent care is just there when your doctor can’t be.

8. You can get a physical at an urgent care center if you need one for something such as sports or work. They cannot maintain your everyday health but they are able to get the physicals for activity that you need to do in the immediate future.

9. If you think you have the flu you should still go to urgent care. They will be able to tell you if all you need is rest and fluids or if you need a medication to help combat the flu.

10. You may not be seen by a doctor, you may be seen by a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner. They are both overseen by board certified doctors but are able to treat a wide variety of illnesses and injuries.

11. If you think that you are having a heart attack go directly to the ER. They will end up calling an ambulance and having you transferred anyway.

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