What to Do if Someone Needs Immediate Medical Care

Every day, millions of Americans young and old will suffer from illnesses or injuries that call for professional medical attention. But will they need to visit emergency care centers in the area, or urgent care centers (or walk in clinics) instead? These two levels of medical care are not to be confused, since they serve different purposes. When a victim needs help, a nearby responsible party can look up local emergency care centers or urgent care centers online, and find the name, address, and hours of operation of a local location and take the victim there. Not all care centers are open 24 hours a day, but some are, and this is helpful if the patient needs help at an odd time of day. Specifying “24 hour emergency care centers” or “24 hr urgent care near me” is helpful for that.

Visiting Urgent Care Centers

Emergency care is the highest level of care, reserved for patients who are in dire or even life threatening condition. This includes a hospital’s ER, or emergency room, or else freestanding emergency care centers in the area. Trained doctors and physicians at these emergency care services will have the training and medicine necessary to stabilize a patient and get them out of harm’s way. For example, a patient who was rushed to a local ER may have suffered a broken arm or leg, or they may have suffered a head or eyeball injury. Patients experiencing difficulty breathing or serious chest pain will also need to visit local emergency care centers, as such conditions may turn life threatening at any moment (if they are not already). Stab wounds and bullet wounds also merit a visit to local emergency care centers, and such wounds may be bleeding heavily. But what about abdominal pain? Often, cases of abdominal pain are harmless, being caused by gas or indigestion, but if the pain is severe, sudden, and/or long lasting, it is wise to look up emergency care centers. The underlying cause might be very serious, such as cancer or internal bleeding.

Take note that emergency care centers are not catch-all medical care sites, as they are best reserved for patients in dire condition. A patient with much more minor medical issues should visit local urgent care clinics instead, which will often prove much cheaper and faster anyway. If it is not clear what level of care a victim will need, though, a person might look up hybrid medical sites and take the patient there. These are medical centers that offer urgent and emergency care side by side, making them quite flexible. They may come up in a search for either urgent or emergency care, and a seeker might specifically look for them for a patient’s sake.

Urgent Care Done Right

As mentioned above, urgent care is for patients with relatively minor, or at least not life threatening, medical problems. This is often known as “convenient care”, since these clinics are everywhere and their services are quick and affordable compared to an ER. Today, over 2,500 urgent care clinics can be found across the United States, and they are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can treat minor medical problems for their patients. Often, these are small and independent clinics, typically built into strip malls and with “urgent care” in their names. Some of them are found in large retailers, known as retail clinics, for the convenience of shoppers. Yet others are built into hospitals, but take note that their staff and services are separate from those of the hospital at large.

Patients can visit an urgent care center or walk in clinics to get a prescription drug refill at the pharmacy, and they can also visit to get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu during influenza season. Meanwhile, four in five urgent care centers provide treatment for bone fractures, and nearly all such clinic also offer treatment for sprained wrists or ankles. The nurse practitioners on staff can provide bandages and stitches for shallow cuts, and they can also provide lotion and ointment for cases of sunburn or skin rashes. Upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit urgent care centers across the U.S.

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