When to Go to Urgent or Emergency Care

Americans young and old will sometimes need to visit a medical facility if they are ill or injured, or if they face other conditions such as chest pain or stomach pain. Some medical maladies are not life-threatening, and are best taken care of at a walk in clinic or an urgent care clinic. By contrast (and this distinction should be made), emergency care is for life-threatening problems or serious medical conditions that an urgent clinic’s staff can’t handle. The stomach flu is one thing, but serious stomach pain may suggest ulcers or worse. Strong chest pain or stomach pain call for these emergency clinics and emergency rooms, and some clinics, in fact, are hybrids that can offer both 24 emergency care and 24 hour urgent care, too. Someone with agonizing stomach pain may be taken to such a hybrid clinic, for example.

Emergency Care Done Right

Why might someone need emergency care? These medical facilities are best reserved for patients with life-threatening conditions, as mentioned above, and someone with more minor medical needs should steer clear of them. Many patients in emergency clinics today could have had their medical issues resolved at a walk in clinic instead. The doctors and physicians who work at an emergency clinic or ER have the tools, training, and medicine needed to handle a wide variety of medical maladies and get the patient out of danger. A patient may need emergency care, for example, if they have suffered broken arms or legs, or if they have suffered head or eye injuries such as a cracked skull or a concussion or eye damage. Patients who have suffered bullet or stab wounds will certainly need emergency care, especially if they are bleeding heavily. What is more, a patient may be admitted for chest pain or difficulty breathing, which can easily turn life-threatening at any time.

When someone needs emergency care, a nearby responsible adult can look up local emergency clinics or hospitals on a smart phone or a PC if they don’t already know where to find one. They may look for a 24 hour clinic in particular if they need to reach one at an odd time of day, such as 2:00 AM or the like. If possible, that adult may provide personal transport for the victim and take them to an emergency clinic or a hospital for care. If that is not an option, they can call for an ambulance.

Urgent Care and Walk In Clinics

By contrast, someone who has minor, non life-threatening wounds or illnesses can and should visit urgent care clinics for their needs. Here again, a responsible adult can look up these clinics online if they don’t already know where to find one, and provide transport. In fact, some victims may be able to transport themselves there. Many thousands of these urgent care clinics can be found across the United States today, with every city and many towns having at least a few of them. Many of these clinics are built into strip malls to make them easy to find and visit, and may have convenient parking spots. Other urgent care clinics may be built into retailers such as Target or Wal-Mart, known as retail clinics. These clinics typically have a pharmacy on hand, convenient for shoppers who need to pick up their prescription drug refills during a shopping trip. In fact, some clinics are built into hospitals, and they provide distinct care and staff from the hospital at large.

These clinic are staffed by nurse practitioners and physicians who have the medicine and training needed to handle a wide variety of health issues, and a clinic running smoothly may see about three patients per hour. Aside from the pharmacy, the clinic’s staff may provide lotion and ointment to take care of a patient’s rash or sunburn, and the nurses can provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts. What is more, four in every five such clinics offer medical services for bone fractures, and many Americans visit these clinics for sprained wrists or ankles (such as from sports injuries). Patients may also get medicinal relief from the common cold or flu during influenza season, and patients may also visit because of upper respiratory issues.