Everyone will suffer illness or injury sometimes, and when a person falls victim to a wound or condition, it is imperative that that person or someone nearby knows where to find medical help, ranging from a walk in health clinic or a pharmacy all the way to emergency room care at a hospital. In fact, some facilities are now hybrids of a walk in health clinic and emergency care, and these sites can also be visited for treatment. Not all clinics are open at all hours, but many will have broad hours of operation, and finding them is often a matter of performing a search on a PC or smart phone. A search such as “walk in health clinic Dallas TX” or “emergency room Boston MA” can save a life. These searches help a person get the name, address, and hours of operation for a walk in health clinic or a hospital nearby. But it is also important to know what health problems call for different medical facilities. A walk in health clinic and the emergency room are not interchangeable.

The ER

For more dire, even life-threatening illness or injury, it is critical for any responsible adult to get a victim to an emergency room, where an emergency room doctor and physicians can get that victim out of harm’s way and stabilize them. At the ER, trained doctors, and the right medicine and medical tools, will be on hand to save a life. What might bring a patient to emergency care? Broken arms or legs, for example, will probably send someone straight to the ER, and serious chest pain or difficulty breathing can quickly threaten a life and might lead to a heart attack or respiratory arrest, which may kill someone who is not at the ER. Head wounds or eye injuries also call for a trip to the emergency room, along with bullet or stab wounds or other trauma with a lot of bleeding and deep cuts. But it should be noted that patients with milder, non life-threatening issues are advised against going to the ER, since a walk in health clinic or other clinics are better suited for their maladies. In fact, nearly 65% of ER episodes could have been handled at a regular health clinic instead.

Urgent Care Centers

The ER is best reserved for those with life-threatening issues, while nearly all other healthcare patients are urged to instead visit either their private physician or walk in clinics and urgent care facilities. These facilities are often small and independent, or are part of a small network, and they can be found all across the United States. They are most often staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners who will have the training and the equipment to deal with everyday illness and wounds, and they often accept various forms of healthcare. Such clinics, if they are running smoothly, may see about three patients per hour, and a patient can expect an average wait time of about 15 minutes.

What kind of maladies are treated at urgent care? Four out of five such clinics will treat bone fractures, to name just one, and they will also take care of sprained ankles or wrists. 25,000 Americans suffer ankle sprains every day, such as during sports events, and this can often send them to the nearest walk in health clinic for treatment. These clinics’ staff members can also provide antibiotics and stitches for shallower cuts, such as when someone steps on broken glass, and the clinics may also treat skin problems such as rashes or allergies. Upper respiratory problems are very common reason to visit a walk in health clinic, and the common cold and flu viruses may also send someone to their local clinic, where they can get medicine for symptom relief. Also, these clinics often have a pharmacy built into them.

Many such clinics are independent, standalone sites, but other clinics are what are known as retail clinics. This means that they are built into a large retailer such as Walgreens, Target, or Wal-Mart, and these clinics may have similar hours of operation as the store where they are located, and they will also typically have a pharmacy and trained pharmacists on hand.

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