Walk in clinic bellevue

Urgent care clinics (not to be confused with the emergency room) provide services, often after hours, for non-life-threatening conditions. For example, an urgent care is very likely to perform stitches on injuries that do not pose significant risk to one’s life and thus do not need the immediate, critical care of an emergency room. 20,000 physicians practice in this area of medicine, seeing around 3 million patients every week.

The vast majority (85 percent) of urgent care clinics are open 7 days a week, providing a more flexible option for those who struggle to get to the doctor’s office during the week, or who simply can’t wait until regular business hours for treatment. In addition to being open on weekends, clinics are likely to have extended hours in the evening as well.

Urgent care clinics perhaps most notably provide care for broken bones. Four out of five urgent care clinics do provide care for broken bones. Again, if a broken bone is not a life-threatening emergency, going to urgent care can be more convenient and perhaps more cost-effective, depending on your health plan.

On a related note, sprains are another common reason to head to urgent care. An estimated 25,000 Americans sprain an ankle every day, so if this is your reason for heading to the clinic, you’re certainly not alone. Most ankle sprains (estimated 80%) are a result of the ankle inverting or rolling inward. Regardless of the type or where it is, a sprain can be very painful.

Urgent cares do more than treat wounds and fractures, however. In addition to wound treatment, upper respiratory conditions was the other most common case in urgent care, according to a 2012 report. That nasty sore throat that set in halfway through the work day on Friday? Urgent care lets you get on top of taking care of it before it spends the weekend getting worse. Your first grader is complaining of ear pain after school? Urgent care can probably get them in sooner than the doctor’s office can.

If you do decide to head to an urgent care, see if there is a section on their website listing the doctors’ ratings — these could help you decide if that particular clinic is where you want to go.