When Should You Visit an Urgent Care Center?

It should first be noted that an urgent care center is not meant to be a replacement for your primary care physician. Your primary care physician will have an extensive knowledge of you and your medical history, your background, lifestyle and will know best what long-term treatments, if needed, will be in your best interest. Urgent care centers are best when it is not possible to get an appointment with your primary doctor due to their being out of town, at another location, or simply overbooked.

What Conditions Need Urgent Care?

Urgent care centers, also known as walk-in clinics, provide medical services needed immediately but which would not be enough of an emergency for an actual emergency room visit. In other words, use urgent care for non-life threatening medical situations that still require health care right now. Urgent care centers see patients for many medical problems, including:

  • Colds and flu that are preventing you from attending work or school
  • Coughs, ear aches and sore throats
  • Persistent diarrhea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain that is not relieved by over-the-counter medications
  • Minor wounds that require sterilization or suturing (stitches)
  • Painful sties on the eye
  • Recurring nosebleeds, or those that don’t stop within ten minutes
  • Urinary tract infections which cause painful urination
  • Acute asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Sprains, strains and minor fractures
  • Most burns, including sunburns or burns from chemicals or flame
  • Allergic reactions such as to bee stings, poison ivy, etc.

These conditions generally require same-day medical treatment and therefore are good candidates for visiting an urgent care center. While not all urgent care offices are equipped to handle every single health care need, many do have extensive equipment available, such as blood labs, x-ray machines and EKGs/ECGs.

When you need seen now, your urgent care office will provide you with the same quality health care you would expect from your primary doctor on an as-needed basis, without an appointment. New patients are always welcome, so please feel free to call for an appointment or just come in.