It is common for Americans to suffer injuries or illnesses that require medical attention, and it is important that someone nearby can take that victim to a local medical care facility. Medical care varies widely, although emergency care clinics, urgent care centers, and walk in clinic are particularly common. And for victims under 18, even toddlers, a childrens walk in clinic is a fine option. If someone is hurt or suffering a condition, a nearby responsible adult may look up local care facilities if they do not already know one, and specify what they are looking for. Cases of serious chest pain or difficulty breathing may call for emergency care, and more minor cases only require an urgent care center. For unclear cases, the seeker may look for a hybrid clinic that offers both urgent and emergency care for chest pain or abdominal pain, light-headedness, and more. In particular, if a case of major chest pain or stomach pain occurs at an odd time of day, such as 2:00 AM, a seeker may look for a 24 hour emergency care clinic nearby and take the victim there.
What Emergency Care Entails
Why might someone need emergency care? It may be noted that a hospital’s ER is not a catch-all medical site for all cases, but patients with life-threatening conditions certainly need a trip there. The doctors and physicians working at an emergency care clinic or hospital will have the tools and training needed to get any patient out of harm’s way and help them stabilize.
A patient may need emergency care for major abdominal or chest pain or difficulty breathing, and such cases may turn life-threatening at any time (if they aren’t already). Not only that, but patients may be rushed to the ER if they have suffered head wounds or eye wounds, and a patient may need the ER for broken arms or legs or other major bones. Heavy bleeding or stab or bullet wounds also call for the ER, and internal organ damage (such as from a broken lung) also calls for the ER. But as mentioned above, more minor medical cases don’t actually call for the ER, and it may be expensive and stressful to visit the ER when it’s not necessary. Many ER episodes could have (and probably should have) been handled at an urgent care center instead, and such clinics are faster and less expensive to visit than the ER anyway.
When to Get Urgent Care
At first, urgent and emergency care may sound similar, but in fact they are not. Urgent care is for minor, everyday wounds or conditions that are not life-threatening, and urgent care may even consist of simply visiting a pharmacy to get a prescription drug refill. Meanwhile, Americans may take note that some medical clinics today are a hybrid model; that is, they offer both urgent and emergency care, side by side. This is helpful for cases when it is difficult to tell what level of care a patient needs, or if local urgent care clinic are closed at that time of day.
Ordinary urgent care clinics are widespread across the United States today, and all cities and most towns have at least a few of them. More and more rural areas are having some new urgent care clinics built too, for the benefit of rural Americans. These clinics tend to be small and independent, and staffed by nurse practitioners and physicians who can treat ordinary wounds and illnesses. Most such clinics are built into strip malls for easy access, though some can be found in major retailers such as Target or Walgreens.
Non life-threatening conditions can be easily handled at an urgent care clinic. Four in five of these clinics can offer treatment for bone fractures, for example, and nearly all of them can treat wrist or ankle sprains as well, such as after a sports injury. The nurses can offer stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, and they can also apply lotion and ointment on skin problems such as rashes and sunburn. Guests at urgent care clinics may also visit to have upper respiratory problems looked at, not to mention pick up medicinal relief for the common cold or flu during influenza season.