It’s 2 0’clock in the morning, and you can’t keep your eyes shut for five minutes because it feels like they’re burning, and the sneezing doesn’t help either. What would you do in such a situation? Do you go to the E.R because you think it’s an allergic reaction, or do you go to an urgent care clinic? Before we answer that critical question, you need to know what urgent care clinics are and why they can serve as an alternative to a visit to the emergency room.
What is a care clinic?
Urgent care clinics or centers are medical facilities that offer quick and convenient solutions for emergencies that aren’t life-threatening. With a massive variety of medical equipment and trained doctors and nurses on board, you can get treatment late at night when the doctor’s offices are closed, but the situation isn’t bad enough for you to go to the emergency room.
Though life-threatening symptoms such as pain in the left arm (sign of a mild or severe heart attack), or an acute injury will require you to rush to the E.R. Milder symptoms such as a cough, rash, fever or a sore throat can be treated by those present at the urgent care clinics.
So, coming back to our initial question, where do you go if you have an allergic reaction and can’t stop sneezing? If the reaction isn’t causing you breathing problems, you can go to a care clinic, and they’ll give you a shot to make the symptoms go away.
Questions you should ask
Now that you’ve decided to go to an urgent care clinic near you, you also need to remember that because every facility is different, you’ll need to ask a few critical questions before getting treatment. Here’re some of the most vital issues you should address when you’re visiting a care clinic for the first time.
- Who will be treating me?
According to statistics, the United States has approximately 7,100 urgent care clinics. Most of these clinics employ a variety of doctors, assistants, and nurses and this is why you need to know who you’ll be consulting during the visit.
When you need to be sure that you’re going to be seen by a physician who has adequate training and experience, you need to be sure to ask this question. Even if the hospital doesn’t have an in-house doctor, they should have a remote one so he can visit for any emergencies that nurses and other staff can’t handle.
- What are your payment options?
Most urgent treatment centers will accept commercial, exchange and Medicare plans, but it is better to ask when you first visit so you don’t run into any bumps. If you don’t have your insurance card, ask if you could give a copy of your photo ID and member ID number so details can be verified. Also, if you don’t want to pay for insurance, ask the urgent care clinic if they accept credit cards or cash. Though most do, it’s always better to ask.
- Will you need any information?
Before the paperwork can be processed, you’ll need to provide the clinic with some information. For instance, if the patient is a minor, you’ll need to have photo identifications such as a driver’s license, passport, or student card. You’ll also need to tell them about your medical history and report any allergies. Finally, if you’re taking any over-the-counter medications, you’ll also need to inform the clinic about them.
- Do you offer lab tests?
Certified urgent care clinics will have the authority to run rapid strep tests, urinalysis and pregnancy tests. In fact, most will also have x-ray machines and technicians on board so you can get your x-rays read by a professional. However, remember that these labs will probably not be able to run tests that are detailed and extensive such as a biopsy.
- Do you offer breathing treatments?
If you’re facing minor breathing problems due to an infection or asthma, you need to know whether or not the urgent care clinic has proper treatment options set up. You must find out whether or not they have the necessary technology that can help you in such a situation.
However, you should bear in mind that these clinics aren’t equipped with equipment that will help in severe breathing issues such as those related to anaphylactic shock. For such serious problems, you need to go to an emergency room immediately.
- What services do you offer?
Though most urgent care clinics generate revenue by treating cold flu and throat symptoms, they provide an extensive variety of other services as well. Here are some common services that are offered by these facilities.
- Sprains and broken bones
- Ear infections
- Fever or flu
- Minor breathing difficulties
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Skin rashes and infections
- Mild lacerations
- Eye irritation and redness
- Broken bones
- Back pain
- Urinary tract infections
- Do I need a referral from my primary physician?
One of the most significant benefits of going to an urgent care clinic is that you don’t need to refer your primary physician as long as you give your correct history. Symptoms can be treated in-house with the need for authorizations from the regular doctor.
Have you always been looking for an urgent care near me, in situations where you didn’t know where to turn? Care clinics are your best option because they don’t just provide medical services 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, but will also be able to help you treat issues immediately and without much hassle.
Just remember to ask these questions from the urgent care clinic, and you’ll be on your way to getting top-notch, professional facilities.