Emergency Room Versus Urgent Care, and the Benefits of Urgent Care

walk in urgent care

Unfortunately, as careful as we try to be, people get sick and hurt all the time. When this happens, people often panic. We are worried about ourselves and our loved ones when an accident or emergency happens, and we want to get them taken care of as soon as possible.

This panic often leads to seeking out medical care immediately, which is great. However, typical doctor’s offices are not open all the time. For this reason, many patients often opt for the emergency room so that they can be looked at quickly. This can very swiftly lead to overcrowding in the emergency room (which ironically means patients aren’t seen quickly at all). Too often patients go to the emergency room even if the illness or injury does not warrant an ER visit.

When you Should Go to the Emergency Room
As is in the name, emergency room visits should be saved for true emergencies. When medical attention is required that can only be given in a hospital setting, then the emergency room is probably appropriate. Conditions like severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, broken bones, heart attacks, and serious cuts and bleeding are all excellent examples of reasons one should go straight to the emergency room.

When You Should Go to a Walk In Urgent Care
Walk in Urgent Care facilities offer immediate care for a variety of medical problems that need to be treated right away, but are not considered true emergencies. Conditions that warrant an urgent care visit are things like a fever without a rash, ear pain, painful urination, diarrhea, vomiting, major bruising from a fall, or a sore throat. When these instances occur and you cannot get in to see your primary care doctor soon enough, visiting an urgent care is your best bet.

Benefits of Walk In Urgent Care Over the Emergency Room
Other than being open 24/7, emergencies rooms have very few benefits over walk in urgent care centers. If you can wait, here are two reasons that you will be better off going to urgent care than the emergency room.

Treatment Options
Urgent care center are equipped to handle a variety of medical conditions, and they also typically have a physician on site that is ready to take care of your medical needs.

Shorter Wait Times
The urgent Care Association of America conducted a survey that revealed 57% of patients do not have to wait any longer than 15 minutes to be seen at an urgent care, and approximately 80% of urgent care visits take less than 60 minutes. Some people wait hours at the emergency room.

If you are experiencing a medical condition that does not warrant a trip to the emergency room, go to an urgent care center before you wait around to see your primary care doctor.

Cold Or Flu? How To Spot The Difference

flu vaccination

We all know the feeling: You wake up feeling congested, exhausted, and just yucky overall. As you stay in bed all day to take care of yourself, you might be wondering whether you have the flu or just a cold, especially if you didn’t get a flu vaccination. In some cases, it can be tricky to spot the difference between these two viruses. While the best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to stop by an urgent care clinic, there are some key differences to help you tell the difference.

The Common Cold
It’s hard to get through a Winter season without catching a cold. To spot this virus, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Slight fever (mostly in children)

These symptoms usually last about a week and are contagious for the first three days. Most people can recover from the cold with rest and fluids. But in some cases, the cold might develop into a sinus infection, in which you would require antibiotics.

The Flu
While a cold may be a mild virus, the flu is generally more intense. This virus comes on suddenly and has more severe symptoms including:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Muscle Aches

Flu symptoms can last over a week but generally become milder in five days or less. While most people can recover with rest, certain individuals might be at risk for complications. Children, elderly individuals, and people with specific conditions should see their doctors if they contract the flu. According to WebMD, patients who experience shortness of breath should seek medical care, as this could be a sign that the flu has led to pneumonia.

Remember that the best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination. It is never too late in the season to visit a clinic for your immunization, so stop by your local urgent care center today. To prevent both viruses, be sure to wash your hands frequently. This will remove harmful germs from your skin and prevent them from entering your body.

Remember that 90.6% of urgent care centers are open past 7 p.m. on weeknights and two out of five open 9 p.m. or later, you can stop by a clinic for a specific diagnosis and care. By taking care of yourself and knowing the signs of the flu, you can help keep yourself healthy this season.

Urgent Care Centers Across the Country Are Hoping to Shorten Wait Times

walk in clinics

Urgent care centers are great for all kinds of instances that require medical attention. Whether it’s fracture care, which 80% of urgent centers provide, a bad cold, or other non-life-threatening issues, these walk in clinics are great for immediate medical attention.

Unfortunately, not all walk in clinics are able to address the numerous health concerns of all their patients in a timely fashion.

Approximately 60% of all urgent care facilities have a wait time of less than 15 minutes to see a physician or mid-level healthcare provider, and 65% of centers have a doctor on-site at all times. But there are still plenty of medical facilities that struggle to accommodate for the needs of their patients.

Some people experience longer wait times because of staffing issues, others just don’t have immediate health problems and are pushed to the back of sometimes very long lines. Thankfully, things are being done across the healthcare industry to cut down these wait times and improve the way medical care is handled at these urgent care centers.

According to Business Insider, a new startup now helps individuals book urgent care appointments is now going national with their online booking platform.

Solv launched in 2017 in Dallas, Texas. The startup allows patients to schedule urgent care appointments online in a similar way the popular startup OpenTable handles its online restaurant reservations.

“One of our early insights was that convenient care has become the front door of healthcare for hundreds of millions of Americans,” said Heather Fernandez, Solv’s CEO.

There are roughly 7,400 urgent care facilities across the U.S., and the healthcare industry as a whole could benefit from shorter wait times for its patients. The individuals needing medical assistance would surely benefit, as well.

“The convenience factor matters more for some people who just don’t have time,” added Bill Gurley, partner and early investor of Solv.

Luckily there are still quality walk in clinics that can accommodate for much shorter waiting periods when it comes to medical attention. If you’re in the Lakewood, Colorado area and are in need of immediate medical care, contact AFC/Doctors Express Englewood today.

Stay Healthy All Season With These Flu Prevention Tips

medical urgent care

Flu season is here, and for some people, it might feel like getting sick is inevitable. Luckily, this is far from true. There are plenty of techniques you can use to keep yourself from contracting the flu. It all comes down to basic health habits and hygiene. The following are some basic tips to safeguard yourself against the flu. From washing your hands to visiting your medical urgent care clinic, staying healthy is simple.

  1. Wash your hands often
    It seems simple, but far too many people skip this important step. Wash your hands when you get home from work or errands, after you shake hands with someone, and before meals. Staying diligent about hand washing can remove germs from your hands and kill the flu virus on contact.
  2. Keep your distance
    Stay away from people who are sick. By keeping to yourself, you can put some distance between yourself and the virus. And if you do need to be in contact with someone who has the flu, wash your hands right after.
  3. Get enough rest
    Sleep is key to protecting your immune system. By catching enough Z’s at night, you can help your body fight off any viruses that are in your system. This is extra important when you start feeling under the weather.
  4. Stop touching your face
    You might be surprised by how often you touch your face. By placing your hands all over your mug, you are putting viruses close to keep entry points, including your mouth, nose, and eyes. Try to catch yourself whenever your hands inch toward your face.
  5. Get vaccinated
    Flu shots are some of the best ways to protect yourself from certain strains of the flu. Visit your local medical urgent care clinic to get your flu shot. Over 90% are open past 7 p.m. and two out of five are open past 9 p.m.

While there are certain tricks that everyone can use to avoid the flu, be sure to talk to your doctor about special prevention if you have any special medical needs. And of course, if you do get the flu, follow your doctor’s instructions. Rest, get plenty of fluids, and take care of your body. This will get you back on your feet as soon as possible.

Trip Or Treat? Common Halloween Injuries Parents Should Know

walk in clinics

Halloween is full of spooky wonder for children, but it can be a source of worry for parents. Running around in the dark while wearing costumes can put kids at risk for injury. Fortunately, by staying aware of these risks and preparing your children, you can help lower their chance of getting hurt. And this can save you a trip to an urgent care clinic this year. The following are some of the most common injuries that can bring children from trick-or-treating to walk in clinics.

Tripping Injuries
When your child’s costume is too long or they are simply not careful while walking in the dark, they can easily trip. While most of these stumbles result in little to no injury, your child may be at risk for a break. Luckily, four out of five medical urgent care centers provide fracture care. And the cast will make a realistic addition to any mummy costume.

Candles are a common part of Halloween decor and can be dangerous if your child gets too close. The best way to prevent this is to educate your child on fire safety and teach them to stay away from jack-o-lantern candles. Buying your child a costume that fits can also keep the fabric close to their body rather than sweeping around near these flames.

Eye Injuries
Costumes that include a prop like a magic wand or a sword can be a hazard when children swing their accessories around. Goofing around can literally be a stick in the eye. Tell your child to keep their prop at their side to help keep other children safe.

Traffic Accidents
Unfortunately, not all drivers are careful on Halloween. This puts all pedestrians at risk. This is why it’s important for adults to accompany small children while trick-or-treating and for older kids to stay out of the road.

Allergic Reactions
If your child has a peanut allergy, or other similar allergy, Halloween candy can be a risk. Once your child gets home, look through their candy and remove all of the sweets that have nuts or traces of nuts. This way, your child can enjoy their treats without worry. If they do have a reaction, get them medical care as soon as possible.

Remember: It is impossible to prevent all Halloween injuries. Even the most cautious children get injured sometimes. If your child is injured on Halloween, simply take them to one of your area’s walk in clinics for treatment.

How To Keep Your Child Calm During Their Urgent Care Visit


No matter how old you are, visiting an urgent care center can be nerve-wracking. This is especially true for little ones. Having an urgent medical emergency is scary to begin with, and it only gets worse when you add an unknown space and doctors. As a parent, you have the ability to keep your child calm during their visit. Take the following steps to ease their nerves and make the visit as successful as possible.

Step 1: Choose the right clinic.
Your family should have a go-to walk-in clinic. This way, you can head somewhere you trust in the event of an emergency. Do some research online to select the best kid-friendly clinic in your area. This way, you know going in that the doctors are equipped to deal with children.

Step 2: Bring comforting items.
While you are rushing out the door, grab stuffed animals, books, and any other special items for your child. These might provide even a small amount of comfort while they are in the exam room. Locations that provide urgent care for kids may have toys and books on hand, so use these to your advantage.

Step 3: Soothe them in the waiting room.
A recent survey found that 57% of walk-in clinic patients waited 15 minutes or less to be seen by a doctor, and 80% of these visits took an hour or less. So, hopefully, you won’t be in the waiting room long. But while you are there, do what you can to keep your child comforted and busy.

Step 4: Talk them through everything.
Surprises will only make your child more anxious, so let them know what to expect. If something is going to pinch, tell them. This way, they will learn to trust you and the doctor while in these unfamiliar medical situations.

Step 5: Use affirmative language.
While they are being cared for, stay positive. Tell them they are being brave and you are proud of them. Encouraging this behavior will make them feel strong in this scary situation. Your little one is more resilient than you may think.

By keeping your child calm during your clinic visit, you are helping both your family and the clinical staff. This will help your visit move along as quickly as possible, and you and your child can leave with a diagnosis and course of treatment.