You may have heard the saying “health is the real wealth” and nodded your head along. If you’re relatively healthy and have no underlying disorders, you intrinsically understand that when we feel good and our body works, life is pretty great. You also have internalized the opposite response if you’ve ever witnessed a bad accident, come down with a heavy fever, or suddenly been unable to hold down food. As a precaution to guard against waving a problem away, urgent care centers exist to help treat mild to semi-serious health conditions.
Why Urgent Care Centers Exist
Whether you’re suffering from sports injuries or simply need to talk to a doctor or medical professional about a concern that’s ailing you, that’s what urgent care centers are for. They operate in the precarious gray zone between sending you home because nothing is wrong and calling an ambulance to take you to a hospital as quickly as possible before something serious happens. As a result of this range, the variety of care available at urgent care facilities can be broad. You can quickly see a dermatologist about an out of control rash or a primary care physician about fever chills. In addition to dealing with the physical body and its ailments, some urgent care centers even have psychiatrists and other medical professionals that address mental and emotional health.
Urgent care centers staffed by medical professionals aren’t just great for their wide availability and lower cost, but for their part in helping provide common health services that recur each year, such as the flu shot. Instead of scheduling a doctor’s appointment in the future dealing with insurance forms and having to wait in a sterile office in some commercial building, many common health procedures are covered at urgent care centers.
We’ve already mentioned flu vaccinations, but you can also have blood drawn and sent for analysis, get discounted (or free) sexual health products such as condoms, check to see if you need antibiotics for a nasty cut, and much more. While the medical professionals that work at urgent care centers may not always specialize in what ails you, they’ll be able to refer you to someone who does. Remember, they’re there to help you get better and stay well. Always be honest, courteous, and grateful to these fellow humans that exist to make you whole again.
From Rural to Isolated: Virtual Urgent Care
We’ve already established that urgent care centers fill a need in our society in many ways. But what if you live in a rural area or can’t afford to make it to an urgent care center? That’s where virtual care, also known as telemedicine, comes in to save the day. We now live in an age where doctors and patients can exchange vital information, receive diagnoses, and rest assured that their mole isn’t cancerous all through the power of a screen. If you have an internet connection or live near a place that does, you can get virtual care. It costs less too, especially if you’re not covered by insurance and are having to pay healthcare out of your own pocket.
The diagnoses you can receive from virtual medicine may seem insignificant, but they can mean the difference between going crazy in isolation and being reassured that your rash will clear up with some hydrocortisone cream. Being able to have prescriptions written and sent from afar is also helpful, allowing you to receive the same quality of care as you would in the big city.
Trying to stop a bad injury or health situation from becoming an emergency is no laughing matter. That’s why urgent care centers exist. Within the last two years 27% of all U.S. healthcare patients reported that they had visited an urgent care center. They fill a need for a reason, and, hopefully, that reason in your life stays benign enough that urgent care is as far as you will go in the healthcare system.