Many Americans young and old will get ill or injured in their daily lives, and they may need some professional medical attention. If someone is hurt, a nearby responsible adult can take them to either local urgent care clinics or emergency care sites, depending on how serious the medical case is. In some instances, it may be necessary to look up these urgent care clinics online, with a search such as “emergency room in albuquerque” or “urgent care open 24/7 near me san diego ca”. When looking online, the client can specify their ZIP code or town/city name, and find a list of each clinic’s name, address, and hours of operation. They may want to find 24 hour clinics if the victim needs help at an odd time of day, when other clinics might be closed. Also, it is quite important to know the difference between urgent care clinics and emergency care clinics, since they are not interchangeable.

Emergency Care and Saving a Life

Emergency care is best for serious medical cases where a life may be in danger, and these cases are too advanced for urgent care clinics to handle. At an emergency clinic or a hospital’s ER, the doctors and physicians will have the right training and medicine to stabilize a patient and help them recover. For example, the patient may have a broken arm or leg, or they may have suffered bullet or stab wounds that may be bleeding heavily. Head wounds and eyeball injuries also call for the ER, as do chest pain and difficulty breathing. Breathing issues and chest pain might turn life threatening at any moment, if they aren’t already. Meanwhile, abdominal pain is usually harmless and doesn’t call for the ER, but if the pain is severe, sudden, and/or long lasting, it is best to get emergency care since the underlying cause might be quite serious.

However, emergency care sites should not be treated as universal medical care centers, since they are expensive and time consuming to visit, and are best reserved for patients in serious conditions. If a patient has only minor medical issues, then they are advised to visit urgent care clinics in their area, which may offer faster and cheaper aid (and are thus known as “convenient care”). But in some cases, it may be difficult to tell what level of care a victim may need, so that patient might be taken to a hybrid medical clinic. These clinics offer urgent and emergency care side by side, making them flexible and convenient for nearly any medical case.

Urgent Care Done Right

As mentioned earlier, urgent care can handle minor medical cases that don’t require the ER, and the modern urgent care industry is a robust one. Ever since the year 2000, over 2,000 of these clinics have been built across the U.S., and all cities and most towns have at least a few of them. A quick online search may show the name and address of several local clinics to visit. Most often, these clinics are small and independent, staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can expertly take care of non life-threatening wounds. Sometimes, these clinics form small local networks with each other.

If a clinic is running smoothly, it may see three patients per hour, and a guest may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes or so. Often, these clinics are built into strip malls for convenience, though some of them can also be found in retailers for shoppers to visit. Other clinics can be found in hospitals, which offer distinct care and staff from the hospital itself.

Urgent care clinics tend to have a pharmacy in them, where guest can get prescription drug refills as needed. During influenza season, patients there can also get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu. Nurses on staff can provide lotion and ointment for bad cases of skin rashes or sunburn, and they can also offer stitches and bandages for shallow cuts and similar wounds. Four in five of today’s urgent care clinics provide treatment for bone fractures, and nearly all of them can also take care of sprained wrists or ankles (common injuries among Americans). Upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit these walk in clinics.

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