Walk-in medical clinic

Urgent care centers are generally independent or hospital-affiliated facilities that provide medical treatment for patients without the long wait times of an emergency room. These clinics offer medical care during daytime, evening, and weekend hours. In fact, research states that approximately 85% of urgent care centers are available seven days a week. Such flexibility in office hours is helpful for people who seek medical care when their primary care doctor is unavailable. Even those without a primary care physician can go to these walk-in clinics for treatment, especially since appointments are not required.

According to research, around 20,000 doctors practice in urgent care. And, the Urgent Care Association of America reports that approximately 3 million patients visit these walk-in clinics weekly. That number is likely to rise as more walk-in urgent care clinics open nationwide.

Reasons for visiting an urgent care center vary, but symptoms are often non-life-threatening. One of the most common symptoms that clinic physicians treat stem from upper respiratory illnesses. Statistic show that around 1 billion Americans catch colds each year. On average, a person recovers from the cold within 10 days, although it’s possible for symptoms to last anywhere from 48 hours to 14 days. Most clinics also diagnose and treat flu symptoms, which attribute between 5% and 20% of cases each year.

Besides cold and flu symptoms, patients often go to urgent care for treatment of cuts, minor burns, or fractures. Research states that four out of five urgent care centers treat patients with fractures such as ankle sprains. According to reports, an estimated 25,000 Americans suffer ankle or other sports injuries.

Oftentimes, clinic doctors also treat mild allergy symptoms. Some of the common allergic reactions that can be treated include hives, nasal congestion, or rashes from contact dermatitis or poison ivy. For instance, approximately 85% of Americans suffer allergic reactions after being exposed to poison ivy.

What also makes urgent care centers convenient is the services that they offer, similarly to a private practice or ER. For example, many centers give X-rays, conduct blood or urine tests, or administer flu shots. Other walk-in clinics also offer on-site physical therapy for sprains or other fractures, and occupational therapy to help those with disabilities do everyday activities.

Often available in convenient locations, urgent care centers offer a comprehensive list of services for patients who cannot wait for a doctor’s appointment, as long as symptoms are not severe. Like other medical facilities, walk-in clinics accept most forms of insurance or offer discounted payment options to keep the visit affordable.

Have you ever visited an urgent care clinic? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.