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Knowing When To Find Emergency or Urgent Care

Americans young and old will sometimes suffer from injuries or illness during everyday life, and it is vital for that person to get medical help. Urgent care and emergency care both exist to help patients of all kinds, but it is important to know the difference between urgent clinic care and getting emergency care. Medical help may also be found at a clinic that offers both urgent and emergency care, and a person looking for medical help must know what a place offers and what it doesn’t. For life-threatening illness or injuries, a person must find emergency care for a victim, but everyday medical issues can for urgent care instead, a different form of medical help. A person can look up local medical help sites online, with queries such as “emergency care Los Angeles CA” or “walk in clinics near me Boston MA.” A person can then find out the name, address, and hours of operation for a nearby clinic or other facility, and bring in the victim for medical help. What might be expected from each type of medical help?

Emergency Care Today

If a victim is suffering from life-threatening injuries or a medical condition, he or she must be brought in for emergency care, not urgent care, right away. This can save a life. Emergency care means that the doctors and physicians on-site will have the training, medicine, and equipment to get a victim out of danger and stabilize them, and help them recover. A patient at emergency care may have suffered serious trauma such as broken arms or legs, stab or bullet wounds, deep cuts that are bleeding heavily, or head or eye injuries. Or, the patient may be suffering from serious chest pain or difficulty breathing, and those latter two conditions may soon lead to a heart attack or total blockage for breathing. That can be life-threatening. It should e noted, however, that emergency care is best reserved for patients of such serious conditions, and victims of more mild and non life-threatening conditions should not visit emergency care. Nearly half of emergency care patients could have, and should have, visited a walk in clinic instead.

Urgent Medical Help

If emergency care is for life-threatening conditions, then everything else falls under urgent care. There is no shortage of urgent care out there; across the United States, many thousands of urgent care centers can be found, and they tend to be either independent facilities or belong to small networks with each other. These clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who will have the equipment and training to deal with everyday illness and wounds, and there may also be a pharmacy on the premises. If a clinic is running smoothly, the staff may see about three patients per hour, and a patient may expect an average wait time of about 15 minutes. Many such clinics also accept various healthcare insurance policies, though patients may ask ahead time which policies in particular are accepted, as this may vary.

Some of these clinics can be found in strip malls or are standalone buildings, and others are what is known as a retail clinic. Such a clinic is built into a larger retailer such as Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and Target, and guests can make use of the larger retailer’s accessible location and ample parking space. These clinics may have similar hours to the retailer where they’re found, and they often have a pharmacy where drug prescriptions can be refilled quickly.

What brings a patient to an urgent care center for medical help? Often, patients to a clinic have the common cold or flu, especially during influenza season, and they can get medicine for relief. It is also common for patients to get medicine or ointment for allergies, food poisoning, or rashes, such as from poison ivy. Everyday wounds can be treated, too, and four out of five such clinics will be able to deal with bone fractures. These clinics can also help patients with sprained wrists or ankles, and nearly 25,000 Americans suffer from sprained ankles per day, such as from playing sports. Clinics can also help with upper respiratory infections (this is common), and most clinics will also have a pharmacy on hand.

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