Urgent care clinics have become incredibly important health resources for people across the world, and with around two new walk in clinics opening up every single day, it’s estimated that there will be at least 15,000 urgent care centers by 2019. That means thousands of people every week will receive the emergency care and preventative care they need, without wasting money or time in a hospital emergency room.
So what exactly can you expect to find at one of these clinics? Although it’s important to remember that each clinic differs slightly in terms of what they offer, here’s a quick guide to the most common medical needs that an urgent care clinic can provide:
- Vaccinations: This covers everything from the seasonal flu vaccine to regional-specific vaccines for those planning an international trip. For a common flu shot, you might not even have to schedule an appointment beforehand.
- Non-life threatening illnesses: Your neighborhood health clinic is the perfect place to go if you aren’t sure whether you have a cold, the flu, or something really scary-sounding that WebMD “diagnosed” for you. These local clinics always have licensed family care physicians or nurse practitioners on hand and they can provide the same quality treatment you’d find in a traditional doctor’s office.
- Minor physical injuries: Again, the rule of thumb here is that local walk in clinics are ideal for anything that isn’t life-threatening. This may include minor burns, lacerations, sprains, or small fractures. The typical urgent care clinic has 30% of its staff trained in emergency medicine in order to treat these conditions.
- School and sports physicals: These “wellness visits” are just as important as emergency medical care! Most walk in clinics allow patients to schedule these appointments in advance, and there are plenty of family practitioners who can provide physical fitness exams for kids and adults.
- STD testing: This is one of the most important services that immediate care clinics offer, and it’s very easy to be tested for STDs or STIs because these facilities often include a lab for testing. With 85% of these clinics open seven days a week and 95% open past 7 p.m., it’s easy to schedule a clinic visit no matter how busy you are.
So what exactly can your urgent care clinic do for you? It might just be time to find out!