All throughout the United States, urgent care centers have grown more popular – and more commonplace – than ever before. With up to one quarter (if not more) of the population visiting these urgent care centers each and every year, it’s not uncommon for up to three million people to seek treatment in such medical facilities over the course of just one single week all throughout the country. Serviced by up to 20,000 doctors, these patients are provided with high quality and comprehensive care that provides them with a much better alternative to their local emergency room.

For while you should certainly go to the emergency room when you are dealing with a true medical emergency, going to the emergency room for a non-emergent medical concern can be less than ideal. For one thing, you’ll be likely waiting for quite some time. In the average emergency room today, wait times will stretch for up to an hour, if not even longer. And the cost of any treatments you receive in such a setting is likely to be quite astronomical indeed. In fact, it is not uncommon for the typical emergency room visit to cost as much as $1,000 – if not even considerably more than that.

The urgent care locations found throughout the country provide a better option for medical care for a number of reasons. For one thing, the average urgent care center has a much shorter wait time. In more than 90% of all urgent care locations, the average wait time before seeing a doctor is no greater than a mere half of an hour. In more than half of all urgent care centers (around 60% of them, to be just a little bit more specific), this average wait time has even been able to be reduced to a mere 15 minutes. Most patients who go to a walk in clinic will be in, seen, treated, and discharged all within the span of a single hour, something that’s just about unheard of at any given emergency room you’ll find throughout the country.

And urgent care centers are able to treat a wider variety of medical concerns than most people realize. For instance, it’s been estimated that up to 80% of all urgent care clinics in this country are able to provide not only diagnoses for fractures, but fracture care as well. In addition to this already impressive feat, many an urgent care clinic is able to provide treatment for all types of ankle sprains, no matter how severe the sprain might be. After all, with up to 25,000 ankle sprain occurring over the course of just one single day in this one country alone, it should come as no surprise that the average urgent care clinic will see many such cases on a regular basis.

Preventative care can also be sought out at many an urgent care or walk-in clinic here in the United States. For instance, most urgent care clinics will be able to offer a flu shot to people of all ages (though babies might need to get their first ever flu shot in two doses, which will likely only be found in pediatrician’s offices throughout the country). As flu seasons can impact up to 20% of the total population, it’s important for everyone who is able to get their flu shot as soon as they are available. After all, the flu can have some incredibly serious consequences – such as pneumonia and sepsis – for anyone who gets it, even for adults who are young and otherwise healthy. Getting a flu shot, even if you still get the flu, will prevent you from becoming a victim to such serious complications – or at least make it far less likely that they will develop.

Common infections are also treated in urgent care centers throughout the country. UTIs, for instance, are frequently seen. With more than eight million of them diagnosed over the course of just one year in the United States alone, it is only to be expected that urgent care facilities see a great deal of them over the course of that same span of time of a single year.