Getting a doctor’s appointment can be difficult, especially if you are in a hurry. There are times when an illness hits after regular clinic hours and you simply cannot wait until the next business day. While going to the emergency room is an option, if you do not have a true emergency you could wait for hours. Choosing to go to a walk-in clinic may get you out faster. Stand-alone sites often have a team of physicians managing the staff. Centers run at retail outlets or malls usually have a nurse practitioner at the helm. Here are some of the services provided by local centers.
If you are not ill and just need a vaccination, you could benefit from skipping the doctor’s office completely. Many retail pharmacies now offer onsite walk-in clinics that can administer vaccines such as those for flu or shingles. You can get in and out in less than twenty minutes and avoid the hassle of dealing with nurses and doctors just to get your yearly preventative vaccination.
Evaluation of Illness
During cold and flu season, getting in to see your regular physician can be difficult because everyone else is suffering from similar symptoms. By going to a walk-in clinic, you can be evaluated to see if you are suffering from a cold or the flu. Depending on what your ailment is, the physician on duty can prescribe medication to help alleviate symptoms and help you get well sooner.
In addition to testing for common respiratory illnesses, these centers also test and treat stomach ailments that present with diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. They also evaluate joint pain, oral ailments, and even eye problems.
A hospital emergency room staff should evaluate severe injuries. However, minor injuries such as non-life-threatening cuts, bumps, and burns are treatable at a walk-in clinic. If you are uncertain about whether or not a bone is broken, stand-alone centers are equipped with x-ray testing equipment.
Other injuries that are easily treated at one of these centers include sprains and strains, sunburn, abrasions, splinter removal, and animal bites. Those with small children who may have put items in their ears or up their noses can also have these items removed without a trip to the emergency room.
While urgent care centers can be a great alternative to emergency rooms for minor injuries, centers located within retail outlets and malls are not the places to be seen for major injuries or illnesses. These sites are often not equipped with all the items needed to verify a serious problem.
Other Health Care Needs
Many walk-in clinic practitioners are working to make their center more like a traditional doctor’s office in that they may require an appointment for anything more than minor injuries or common seasonal illnesses. These appointments do not have to be made days in advance. Most will let you walk into the clinic and set an appointment at that time.