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What Is Urgent Care? When Should You Use It?

For non-life-threatening emergencies where you know you need some medical help, where do you turn? The ER is the best place to go if you're facing a life-threatening medical emergency. But is there a place to go when you're not able to get in with your general practitioner, whether it's on a weekend or the office is booked up? Yes! If you live in Kentucky, seeking urgent care in Lexington, KY is a great option to seek medical attention.

What is Urgent Care?

Urgent care centers are a convenient option to receive medical treatment for non-life-threatening emergencies. These clinics are widely accessible. Many people opt to visit an urgent care center if they are unable to get an appointment with their doctor or don't have a primary care doctor. Some people opt to go to urgent care instead of the emergency room (ER) for minor medical issues. 

One of the major benefits of an afc urgent care center is the hours. These centers are open outside of traditional business hours which include nights, weekends, and some holidays. Individuals who aren't able to see their primary care doctor for time-related reasons are able to access the medical care they require from urgent care in Lexington, KY.

What is Considered a Non-Life-Threatening Emergency?

Urgent care centers are limited in the services they can provide. You won't be able to get the same level of care as provided at the ER because hospitals can treat serious injuries. But urgent care clinics still provide valuable service to individuals suffering from minor medical conditions. Below are a few examples of non-life-threatening conditions treated at an urgent care center:

  • Breathing difficulties, such as mild asthma symptoms
  • Bug stings
  • Burns
  • Cold, Flu, or Fever
  • Dehydration, Diarrhea, or Vomiting
  • Eye irritation or redness
  • Minor allergic reactions
  • Severe sore throat or cough
  • Skin rashes or infections
  • Sprains
  • Strep throat
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

What Time Can I Go to Urgent Care in Lexington, KY?

One of the major benefits of attending an urgent care facility is that they operate outside of normal business hours, which are typically 9 AM – 5 PM on Mondays through Fridays. While these centers still have hours within normal business hours, they tend to be open on nights, weekends, and some holidays. Each clinic will adhere to its own schedule, so before seeking medical attention with local urgent care, check for their hours online.

Urgent care centers tend to have a reputation for long wait times, but that isn't always the case. How long you have to wait to see a medical professional depends greatly on how many people are in line ahead of you. If the clinic is busy, you could experience longer wait times.

If you're concerned with the wait time, you can always call ahead to ask about the current estimated wait time to get an idea of how long it will take to be seen. Because urgent care centers are open outside of traditional doctor's office hours, if you seek medical attention during those times, it's more likely the wait time will be longer. But again, this is on a case-by-case basis. 

What Type of Medical Professional do I See at Urgent Care?

Urgent care centers employ a range of healthcare professionals including doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. It is important to know before you go that you may not be seen by a doctor. However, any healthcare professional at the clinic will be able to diagnose and prescribe treatment for various health conditions. No matter which medical professional you see, most of them will likely recommend following up with your primary care physician, should you have one. 

When to Go to the ER

While urgent care in Lexington, KY is a great option for non-life-threatening injuries, if you are experiencing a major medical emergency, it's best to go to the emergency room. Below are some examples of when an ER visit is necessary:

  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Heavy, uncontrollable bleeding
  • Moderate or severe burns
  • Pregnancy-related problems
  • Serious injury to the head, back, or neck
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Severe dizziness or vomiting
  • Stroke symptoms, such as slurred speech, loss of balance or vision, numbness and weakness, or drooping face
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings
  • Unconsciousness

Conclusion

Urgent care clinics can be incredibly convenient. If you are experiencing a minor medical problem and aren't able to visit your general practitioner in Kentucky, consider stopping into urgent care in Lexington, KY. You will be able to get your symptoms treated much more quickly. With any type of medical issue, getting treatment sooner rather than later is best. Urgent care centers help you get the medical attention you need in a more timely manner. 

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