Urgent care centers offer a great compromise between waiting for a visit with your GP and rushing to the emergency room, but it's sometimes hard to know if a visit is justified. However, one of the many advantages of visiting an urgent care center is that it's typically much cheaper and more convenient than an ER visit. As a result, it's much easier to take a "better safe than sorry" approach.
While these three emergencies might seem minor, they still warrant a trip to your local urgent care clinic to rule out potentially more severe problems.
1. You Have a Persistent Fever
A typical fever shouldn't last more than a few days. Persistent fevers may be a sign of a more severe infection or another issue, especially if your fever seems to break and then return. If you aren't experiencing any other emergency symptoms, you should consider an urgent care visit to determine if your fever requires additional treatment.
Note that there are some cases where you should treat your fever as an emergency. If your fever is above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, isn't coming down, or is accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness or confusion, then it's time to visit the ER.
2. Your Flu-Like Symptoms Aren't Responding to OTC Treatment
If you're like most people, you probably treat relatively minor cold or flu-like symptoms using over-the-counter medications. These medications typically help control severe symptoms, allowing you to get on with your day and get through your cold with minimal suffering. However, symptoms that don't respond to these medications, especially after several days, can be more problematic.
You should consider a visit to an urgent care clinic if your symptoms persist for more than a few days or if they seem to be worsening. It's usually a good idea to go when you realize that you aren't getting better rather than waiting for the situation to develop into a genuine emergency.
3. You Have a Minor Injury That Isn't Improving
Most minor cuts, scrapes, bruises, and so on should improve relatively quickly. If you have a good feel for how long your body usually takes to heal, you should be able to tell if an injury doesn't seem to be improving. For example, a cut that's still very painful a day or two later may indicate the presence of an infection.
You usually won't need to visit the ER for injuries that aren't debilitating, even if they don't seem to be improving. A doctor or PA at an urgent care clinic should be able to examine your injury and determine if it requires additional treatment, such as antibiotics or stitches.
For more information, contact a local urgent care service.