In the course of everyday life, even healthy adults and kids might sometimes get hurt or come down with a common illness, and whenever this happens, any responsible adult will know how to find and visit nearby medical facilities to get treatment, medicine, and more, and in some cases, this can save a life. Knowing when to visit and how to find an urgent care facility or the emergency room is essential, but there may be some confusion about the two, such as what ailments call for which. Searching “urgent care near me” may yield some nearby urgent care locations and their hours of operation and the address, and a person could call 911 or search “hospitals near me” or “emergency room care nearby” to find a hospital for a more serious injury or condition.

The Emergency Room

The hospital is often the first thing people imagine when picturing medical care, and although a hospital is not the only type of medical facility out there, life-threatening injuries and conditions certainly call for it. Patients with grievous injuries or conditions must be rushed to the nearest hospital and its emergency room, or ER, where physicians and doctors will have the training and equipment necessary to stabilize a patient and get them treatment. What calls for the ER? Broken bones like the arms or legs or ribs, chest pain, difficulty breathing, head wounds, eye injuries, stab wounds, and bullet wounds all can be life-threatening and require a visit to the ER so the patient’s life can be taken out of danger. One thing to note, however, is that not all everyday wounds or conditions call for the ER; in fact, it has been determined that abut 44% to 65% of all ER episodes could have been handled at an urgent care clinic instead, and this is a problem because such a patient is taking up space and doctor’s attention in the ER when there are patients with their lives in danger.

Urgent Care

All across the United States are many thousands of urgent care clinics, walk in clinics, and more, and they have a variety of hours of operation. Nearly all of them are independent or belong to small networks with other urgent care clinics, and they are staffed with nurse practitioners and a few physicians, and these clinics will be equipped with medicine and medical tools for non life-threatening ailments and injuries. In the rare case a patient here needs the ER, the staff can refer them to a nearby hospital. What is more, these clinics can be fast and efficient. If everything is going smoothly, a clinic may see about three patients an hour, and a patient in the waiting room can expect to wait around 15 minutes before getting treatment.

What sort of ailments and wounds are taken care of at urgent care? Although these facilities do not handle life-threatening injuries like a hospital will, the staff at a clinic can take care of a wide variety of illnesses and wounds. The common cold and the flu viruses, for example, can be treated here with medicine, especially for more serious cases that are taking awhile to go away on their own. Four out of five clinics will also treat bone fractures, a fairly common problem, and clinics can also take care of ankle and wrist sprains. This is common, too; statistics show that around 25,000 Americans suffer ankle sprains every single day, but an urgent care clinic can help. Upper respiratory problems are also treated at these clinics, as are skin problems such as rashes or allergic reactions. On top of all this, an urgent care facility may have a pharmacy.

Finding urgent care usually means searching “urgent care near me” or “local walk in clinics” into a smart phone or a PC when the user or a nearby person, child or adult, has a health problem that an urgent care clinic can take care of. What is more, some urgent care clinics are what is known as a retail clinic, which simply means that it is built into a major retailer, such as Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Target. These large retailers are easy to find and have ample parking for shoppers, so they are easy to reach.