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What Urgent Care Facilities need you to know

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

You’ve cut your finger; you have a fever and think it’s more than a cold; you have tripped and your ankle is feeling funky. Should you go to the ER, make an appointment with the doctor or go to an Urgent Care facility?

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Often, the last choice is the best. Urgent Care is generally used when immediate attention is needed but not enough to visit an emergency room. In other words, “non-life-threatening”. Sometimes its not that black and white. To help you navigate care, here are 10 need-to-know secrets from Urgent care Workers;

1. Urgent Care facilities do not take the place of your Primary Care Doctor. The Urgent Care Facility is equipped similarly to a Primary Care but the nature of care is different. It's your doctor's office that will watch out for signs of diabetes or track your blood pressure, watch your weight, make sure your immunizations are up to date, and discuss appropriate screenings, like mammograms. Urgent Care takes care of you when you are sick and your Primary care will look out for your future health.

2. They do not want to refill your regularly prescribed prescriptions. It seems like the easiest choice but it’s not the right one. Chronic care conditions should be monitored by your primary care doctor. You should always follow the course of treatment laid out for your long-term health and wellness. If you don’t have a regular physician, MD Immediate Care can refer you to one.

3. If you could choose, mid-day is the best time to come to an Urgent Care facility. You can't control when you get hurt or sick, but if you can, try to go in the late morning or early afternoon mid-week, when wait times are typically shorter.

4. Urgent Care can’t handle some emergencies. Urgent care Centers can stabilize you, but a hospital has more specialist at their disposal to treat severe issues. This list isn’t comprehensive but it’s a good place to start; head straight to the ER if you have any of the following: chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe abdominal pain, severe bleeding or head trauma, poisoning or suspected overdose, seizure or loss of consciousness, sudden loss of vision or blurred vision, sudden weakness or tingling, severe headache, and confusion.

5. But you might be surprised as to what they can treat. With the ability to take x-rays, MD Immediate Care is the first place to head for sprains and fractures. as well as one-off routine annual physicals that you may need to quickly get for work or a sports team. (Remember, they'll just clear you for the imminent activity, not follow your health closely like a primary care doctor would.)

6. If you are bleeding, (most of the time) go to MD Immediate Care. We can save you hours of waiting room time in an ER, stabilize you and if necessary forward you to a specialist. The only times when it wouldn't be appropriate is when the cut is really deep, meaning you see bone, cut a tendon, or you think you could lose a limb.

7. There is no need to call ahead. MD Immediate Care takes walk-ins 7 days a week at both Bel Air and Havre de Grace locations.

8. If there is any chance you are having a heart-attack go to the hospital emergency room. Don’t waste valuable heart muscle and brain tissue, head straight to the ER. Often in women the warning signs look a little different, like shortness of breath or nausea and vomiting. A possible stroke (signs include sudden trouble seeing or sudden trouble walking) is another reason to head straight to the ER or call an ambulance.

9. Staffed by Doctors, Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners who are trained to work in Urgent Care.

10.Yes, you should go in case of the flu. That's because if you have the flu (sudden onset of 100-102°F fever with muscle pains and severe fatigue) there's a 48-hour window to be seen to get medication that can help.

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