Being in the best possible health is something anyone would want, and the good news is that today, there are several broad branches of medical care centers for nearly any kind of medical problem of varying severity and urgency. Urgent care and clinics are often the best and most affordable option for health issues, while at other times, going to a hospital’s ER or one’s own personal physician is the right call, not to mention childrens urgent care for kids and effective treatment for allergies and injuries. Often, searching for “24 hour emergency clinics near me” on a smart phone can yield several convenient, affordable places for medical care at any time of day in any urban or semi urban area. Urgent care and clinics can often be just one phone call or mobile device search away.
It is believed that somewhere between 44% and 65% of all ER visits could have been conducted at an urgent care location (according to a recent study), since some problems do not actually call for an ER. However, other medical problems certainly do, and urgent care and clinics won’t always be able to help. Chest pain, for example, or difficulty breathing usually calls for the ER, especially since it can mean the onset of a heart attack or other cardiac event, something that urgent care centers cannot properly handle. Emergency care at a hospital can also extend to more serious injuries such as broken arm or leg bones, stab wounds, bullet wounds, eye wounds, and general head wounds. Sometimes, however, patients overestimate the severity of their problem. It has been found that around 70% of ER patients who have consumer sponsored health insurance actually had non emergency or preventable problems. Knowing the difference between an ER and an urgent care clinic can help a person avoid this sort of error, especially since visiting the ER is expensive compared to other options.
Urgent Care and Clinics
Unlike an ER, an urgent care center, or a walk in clinic, can handle more minor and not life threatening wounds, illnesses, and allergies. Broken fingers and toes, rashes, diarrhea, food allergies, and colds and a flu are among the conditions that such a center will treat. These centers are very common and can be easy to find with an Internet search or by checking a map. In fact, in the United States, there is a total of 7,357 urgent care clinics, and in the 2015 fiscal year alone, on average, such clinics saw a total of 12,000 patients, or an average of three per hour. Such centers are often staffed by nurses and physician’s assistants, who can handle the sort of problems listed above, but rarely is a doctor or physician present at these centers, and the staff usually will not have the equipment or training for ER-worthy problems. Some clinics are in fact retail clinics, worked into retail centers like Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens, and this makes them easily found for prospective patients. Urgent care and clinics is also less expensive than a hospital.
Physicians and Pediatrics
Another route for health care is visiting one’s own personal physician for effective treatment. Unlike at a walk in clinic, the patient will have to schedule an appointment with his or her physician, and if the problem is urgent, visiting an urgent care center may be the only solution. A personal physician, however, is a fully qualified doctor, and has the advantage of knowing each of his or her patient’s medical history and needs. Such physicians can also be consulted for checkups.
Pediatrics covers the care of younger patients, anyone aged from newborn to teenage years. These doctors specialize in the medical needs and common problems of kids and infants, such as ear infections. A pediatrician may require a scheduled visit, being similar to a regular personal physician, but for a client’s child rather than the adult client specifically. However, some of the same problems that could send an adult to the ER could also require that a child go straight to the ER as well, such as large broken bones or difficulty breathing. Illnesses or conditions that are not life threatening can be taken care of by scheduling a visit with one’s pediatrician.