It used to be that the emergency room (ER) was the only option for health care when the doctor’s office was closed, but with the rapid growth of walk-in medical clinics (also called urgent care and convenient care centers), patients now have more choices than ever before. Since decisions need to be made quickly during an urgent situation, it’s good to know where to get the appropriate care before you need it. Here are some tips when you should head to a walk-in clinic versus the emergency room (ER).
The following conditions should really be treated at an ER:
- Chest pains
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive bleeding
- Head injury
- Severe pain
- Major broken bones (arm, leg, ribs)
Walk-in medical clinics can usually treat the following:
- Sprains and strains
- Coughs, colds and flulike symptoms
- Fever, sore throats and ear infections
- Rash or other skin irritations
- Animal bites
- Minor broken bones (fingers, toes, collar bones)
To find a walk-in medical clinic nearest you, log in at floridablue.com. When you find one or two, save the numbers on your cell phone and/or write the contact information down.