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Understanding the Urgency of Urgent Care

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Years ago, there was no such thing as an urgent care center. You either went to the doctor or the emergency room. But with the growth in demand for off-hours care, as well as increasing numbers of people needing treatment thanks to the Affordable Care Act, almost every community has a couple of after-hours facilities to simplify treatment of minor illnesses.

Today, it has advanced even further to permit care by phone. Patients can contact caregivers to describe symptoms and get a prescription called in. That’s with no waiting room visit and no exposure to other sick people. San Francisco urgent care can be sought out in this manner, and other cities are seeing an increase in it as well.

So why are people contacting Urgent care in Oakland instead of traipsing off to the doctor or emergency room? What conditions can best be treated in this way? There are a few common issues that can be easily handled with this unique approach.

Persistent Discomfort

One of the most common causes of doctor visits is allergic reactions. Coming into contact with a substance that creates a reaction in your body can create significant problems for you.

We should stop here and point out that ANY allergic reaction that leads to an itchy throat or mouth, or to any difficulty breathing, should be treated at an emergency room. This is a sign of anaphylaxis and could be deadly. In addition, a patient with a known, established allergy to anything–bee stings, food allergens, or medications, for example–should be seen at an emergency room if any of those known triggers are involved, or may be involved, in the episode.

For minor ailments like skin irritation, urgent care by phone is fine and is certainly preferable to long ER waits or to a next-day visit to the general practitioner. These conditions can interfere with work or rest, creating a high misery index for the patient. Seeking care immediately upon the onset of symptoms can permit a definitive treatment that could quickly improve the patient’s comfort level.

The Run-Of-The-Mill Illness

We all have those sick spells that come along from time to time. Sore throat, sneezing, and a low-grade fever. We’ve all been there dozens of times, and we know exactly the course of treatment we need.

But that course requires a prescription, and we still have to go to the doctor no matter how predictable the whole thing is. It’s needless to waste a work day in a waiting room with people who’ve come in for checkups, follow-up visits, and medication reviews. Instead, when the old familiar visitor drops in, it’s best to contact urgent care and save your sick time from work. With luck, that first day’s doses will knock the symptoms down enough to keep you on the job.

The Ounce Of Prevention

Taking quick action on certain ailments is critical to keeping them from turning more serious. An easy and common example of this is a stomach virus. Children in particular can quickly dehydrate if vomiting and diarrhea go on for several hours, and it is much easier to prevent dehydration than to correct it.

If someone in your home is suffering symptoms that could lead to dehydration, you still have time to contact an urgent care center and avoid an ER visit for fluids and possibly admission. The caregivers may be able to prescribe anti-nausea medications that will settle the stomach and permit oral intake of fluids and electrolytes, getting the body back to its normal hydration more easily and without deeper medical intervention.

Urgent care by phone can jump-start the recovery process, without the miserable experience of trekking the sick person out of the house. It’s also better for the would-be fellow patients, who don’t want to be exposed to a virus on top of their other problems..

Balancing the time and effort we spend to treat a condition with the seriousness of that condition can be tricky. Certainly, if you have any doubts about the situation, you should see a doctor in person. But in these cases where it’s clear that other options are on the table, this unique approach to medical care can make for a quicker and more positive outcome.