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Urgent Care Center: When to Choose This Healthcare Option

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Why visit an urgent care center? Well, there are plenty of reasons. But maybe you're not sure what the advantages are. Maybe you've always called your family doctor, or you think the ER is the place to go. Those are both completely appropriate options in many cases. Even though there are times when making an appointment with your doctor or taking a trip to the emergency department are definitely needed, some injuries and illnesses are treatable at an urgent care center. Why (and when) should you go to an urgent care center?

It's Not an Emergency

There's a world of difference between an emergency situation and a minor illness or injury. Who wants to spend hours waiting in the emergency room to get a sore throat treated? But, if you have severe pain, a serious illness, a high fever, a major injury or some other concern that feels like it's serious (such as a head injury or a deep gash) you need emergency treatment at a hospital right away.

You Can't Get a Doctor's Appointment

You have a major sore throat. It's been a few days, and you finally decided to call the doctor. You're expecting that they'll see you right away. But, the first available appointment is in a week. A week? That's too long to wait when you're sick. An urgent care center can get you seen right away. The doctor at the center can evaluate you, perform any necessary testing, and prescribe medication if needed. If the urgent care doctor feels that you need further evaluation, they'll send you to the hospital or ask you to follow up with your regular doctor.

You Need an X-Ray

After a fall, it feels like something just isn't right with your foot. You aren't in major pain, and it might just be a sprain. You're not a doctor, so you have no way of telling. Most urgent care centers provide diagnostic imaging tests such as x-rays. If you need a more complicated test, such as an MRI with contrast, you'll need to go to a hospital or specialized imaging center.

Urgent care centers like La Costa Urgent Care make getting help for a minor injury or illness easy. Instead of having to wait days (or weeks) for a doctor's office appointment or having to spend the day at the ER, these completely convenient options offer assessment, diagnostic testing and the care that only a medical professional can provide.