It can be difficult to determine whether a situation is sufficient enough to require a trip to an urgent care facility. Here are some of the key signs that you may need to visit this type of medical clinic.
The injury is not life-threatening.
It's a little counter-intuitive, but some injuries are too critical for an urgent care center. When there is severe bleeding, chest pain or difficulty breathing, it's usually best to go to the closest hospital. Even a well-equipped medical clinic does not have the same resources as a hospital if it becomes necessary to perform surgery. Larger facilities with more beds are also able to admit patients for longer periods of care and monitoring. This is particularly important with cardiac events that may require extended periods of monitoring and recording for diagnosis.
You just need a couple of stitches.
It can be hard to assess the severity, but small cuts and scrapes are well within the capabilities of the standalone ER. If you have access to distilled water, it is often possible to rinse a small cut and better see its length. Cuts that are only about an inch long should not require all the additional resources offered by a hospital. More medical care may be needed for lacerations that are longer, deeper or bleeding profusely. If the injury also involved the patient hitting his head, then a CT scan may be needed.
Symptoms suggest a sore throat or cold.
Common illnesses like the cold are perfect reasons to visit a neighborhood medical clinic instead of a more distant facility. The usual antibiotic or injections can be prescribed without the longer wait times associated with hospitals. Walk-in patients are welcome, foregoing the need to make an appointment several days in advance with the primary care physician. A sore throat is just one example of the many common illnesses that are best treated sooner rather than later. Left untreated, the illness can cause middle ear infections and other types of infection. It is best to get sicknesses treated in a timely and efficient fashion whenever possible.
You just need a physical or exam.
Again, one of the biggest problems with going to your primary care physician is the time you have to wait for an appointment. Most medical clinics are completely capable of performing the simple exams sometimes required by employers and other organizations. ESPecially when you need to get the exam finished on a tight schedule, it's great to have the convenience of a local walk-in office. These places can also perform your regular annual check-ups, a helpful service for busy professionals.
Ultimately, there are a lot of variables that go into choosing an appropriate facility for a particular circumstance. If your pediatrician is located nearby, that may be your preferred destination every time your children present with symptoms of strep throat. Your pediatrician or family doctor knows more of your family's medical history, which can help her identify long-term trends and provide a more informed diagnosis.