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Three Reasons You Should Visit an Urgent Care Clinic This Cold and Flu Season

Three Reasons You Should Visit an Urgent Care Clinic This Cold and Flu Season


Brace yourself. Cold and flu season is in full effect. It’s time for stuffy noses, the sniffles, and coughs loud enough to wake Sleeping Beauty to start plaguing the public. If you haven’t contracted either a cold or the flu yet, consider yourself lucky. But if you, like most people during this brutal time of year, came down with some sort of version of either, it’s likely that you sought some sort of medical attention. And when you decided to seek medical care, did you go to a hospital emergency room, your primary care doctor’s office, or an urgent care clinic?

Chances are that you chose to forego the expense, chaos, and long wait of a visiting a hospital emergency room, and instead decided to try to get an appointment with your primary care physician — except the next available appointment wasn’t for another week or so and you pretty much looked and felt like death. Believe it or not, this frustrating scenario is more common than you think.

While primary and family care physicians provide a broad range of much needed medical services, trying to get an appointment in a pinch when you’re really not feeling well can be difficult. In these cases, it’s best to visit an urgent care or walk-in heath clinic. Still not convinced? Here are three reasons why you should visit an urgent care clinic for medical treatment during this cold and flu season.
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They’re faster
Everyone can relate to the frustration of not being sick enough to visit a hospital emergency room, but also not being able to get an appointment with your primary care physician. That’s the beauty of urgent care walk-in health clinics — you can literally walk in and be seen within a short period of time without having to schedule an appointment ahead of time. For example, 69% of urgent care clinics have wait times of 20 minutes or less. Add to that the fact that 85% of urgent care centers are open seven days week, with 95% open after 7 p.m., and you’ll finally see why urgent care clinics are so great. How’s that for short wait times and flexible scheduling?

They administer quality medical care
The irony in the growing popularity of urgent care centers is that they were once looked down upon and written off as quack “doc in a box” clinics. Fast forward to today, and these centers are now considered integral parts of the American healthcare system. The physicians that staff urgent care centers are made up of 47.8% family medicine practitioners, 30.1% are from emergency medicine, and 7.6% have an internal medicine background.

They’re less expensive
Emergency room visits should be reserved for just that — strictly medical emergencies. According to data from the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 129.8 million patients go to hospital emergency rooms each year. However a large number of these patients could have received the medical attention they needed at an urgent care clinic and for far less. Did you know that on average, patients who visit the emergency room unnecessarily spend as much as $784 more than they have to for a three hour visit? Talk about wasting time and money.

It’s often been said that there’s a right time for everything and the same mentality can be applied to how and where you decided to seek medical care. So this cold and flu season and even for the rest of the year, consider going to an urgent care clinic and save yourself some time and money.