Picture this: You wake up early on a wintry Saturday morning, feeling very sick. Your head is pounding, your skin is hot, you’re coughing and sneezing and your nose is plugged up. It’s clear that you’re sick and you need medical attention. But it’s a Saturday and your primary care doctor isn’t in.
What the heck do you do? If your illness is severe enough, you could (and should) go immediately to the emergency room. But if you’ve ever been there, you know you’re likely going to be in for a long wait (think several hours) and a big bill for all your troubles by the end of the visit.
Let’s be honest, if you’ve ever experienced the scenario described above, you want to feel better right now, not three days from now. So what can you do? The simple answer is to find a local walk in health clinic in your area and stop in.
What are walk in health clinics? They’re clinics are healthcare providers that provide care to patients without an appointment. For those needing urgent care (without the urgency of the ER), walk in clinics have become go-to spots. In fact, an estimated three million patients visit urgent care facilities every week, according to the Urgent Care Association of America.
So why are walk-in clinics such a popular option for health care? They offer patients treatment for everyday aliments such as:
- Migraine headaches
- Cold or flu symptoms
This time of year, having a place where you can get fast treatment for the common ailments of winter like colds and the flu is beneficial for patients, but walk in health clinics can also be go-to spots for folks dealing with minor injuries. Your local walk in clinics can also treat:
- Back pain—something that affects up to 69% of Americans every day.
- Minor bruises and cuts
- Sprains and strains—something that 25,000 Americans suffer from every day.
- Mild eye injuries
As you can see, walk in health clinics and urgent care facilities can treat a wide spectrum of symptoms, but there are also many other advantages of visiting these facilities for health care:
- Time flexibility: Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of walk in health clinics is that many of them have extended business hours. This is very beneficial for folks who have odd work schedules or even for parents who have to take their kids in for health care. In fact, 85% of urgent care facilities are open seven days a week and many of them are open well past 5 or 6 p.m.
- Lower costs: The whole idea of urgent cares and walk in health clinics originated as a way to offer medical care at affordable costs to people without health insurance. These days that’s still the case because patients can get the care they need at affordable costs. Many facilities also offer price transparency, where patients can see how much different treatments costs before they’re actually treated.
- Getting in and out fast: As anyone who’s been in the emergency room or to see their primary care doctor knows, there can be some long wait times, especially during the heart of cold and flu season. Even if you’ve got an appointment, there’s no guarantee you’ll get in exactly at your designated time. Thankfully, wait times are a lot less at urgent care facilities and keeps you from sitting uncomfortably in a waiting room for longer than you’d like.
- Availability: There are currently 20,000 physicians who practice urgent care medicine. Because there are so many practicing this form of medicine, walk in health clinics are always opening up all over the United States. That means patients can more than likely find one within a stone’s throw of where they live.
- Getting medical care now: Again, when you’re not feeling well, you want to feel better as quickly as possible. Thankfully, walk in clinics don’t require appointments. You can just show up and go right on in.
If you’re dealing with a serious medical issue, don’t hesitate to go to the ER right away. But for non-life-threatening injuries and ailments, walk in clinics provide fast, affordable medical care.