What Is Urgent Care Good For? Conditions Treated at Urgent Care

woman doctor with face mask on holding a clipboard infront of hospital

Have you ever woken up feeling under the weather but not miserable enough for the emergency room? Or maybe you sprained your ankle playing basketball and need to see a doctor right away, but your primary care physician is booked solid for the next week.  

In these situations, you might be wondering, “What is urgent care good for?” or “What can you go to urgent care for?” The answer is a lot! Urgent care centers fill a vital gap in the healthcare system, offering a convenient and cost-effective option for a wide range of non-life-threatening medical needs. This guide will help you understand what urgent care is, what it can treat, and when it’s the right choice for you.

Importance of Understanding When to Utilize Urgent Care

Why go to urgent care? Urgent care centers are a valuable resource but are not a substitute for your primary care physician or the emergency room. Knowing when to seek urgent care can help you get the treatment you need quickly and efficiently while ensuring that emergency room resources are available for those who need them most.

What is urgent care?

What can urgent care do? Urgent care centers are walk-in clinics staffed by medical professionals who can diagnose and treat a variety of non-emergency medical conditions. They typically offer extended hours compared to traditional primary care offices, making them a convenient option for evenings, weekends, and holidays. 

Urgent care centers are also often equipped with basic diagnostic tools like X-ray machines and lab testing capabilities, allowing them to provide prompt diagnoses and treatment plans.

Midsection Of Doctor Examining Patient At Hospital

When to Choose Urgent Care

Can you go to urgent care for anything? What are the things to go to urgent care for? Urgent care centers are a lifesaver when you need medical attention, but your situation needs to be more critical for the emergency room. Here’s a breakdown of some common reasons why urgent care might be the perfect fit for your needs:

Common medical conditions treated at urgent care

What does urgent care treat? By understanding the range of services offered by urgent care centers, you can make informed decisions about where to seek medical attention for your non-life-threatening needs.

Minor illnesses

Feeling under the weather? Urgent care can diagnose and treat a variety of common illnesses like colds, flu, earaches, sore throats, and even pink eye.

Minor injuries

Got a sprained ankle or a nasty cut? Urgent care centers are equipped to handle a wide range of minor injuries, including sprains, strains, cuts, and even minor burns. They can clean, dress, and bandage wounds and may even be able to splint or cast a minor fracture.


Allergies can be disruptive and uncomfortable. Urgent care can provide relief for allergy symptoms like sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and hives.

Skin conditions

Skin issues like rashes, eczema, and acne can be frustrating. Urgent care centers can diagnose and treat a variety of common skin conditions.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

UTIs can be quite painful. Urgent care can provide a diagnosis, prescribe antibiotics if necessary, and get you feeling better fast.

Other reasons to visit urgent care

In addition to treating common illnesses and injuries, urgent care centers offer a variety of other services that can be very convenient:

Need same-day medical attention but can’t visit your primary care physician

Life gets busy, and sometimes, it’s hard to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor right away. Urgent care centers offer walk-in appointments, so you can get the medical attention you need when you need it most.

Need vaccinations or other preventive care services

Many urgent care centers offer vaccinations for things like the flu, tetanus, and shingles. They may also provide other preventive care services like physicals or screenings.

Travel advice or immunizations

Planning a trip overseas? Urgent care centers can provide travel advice and recommend necessary immunizations to keep you healthy on your travels. They can often administer the vaccinations you need as well.

Woman in coma, heart rate falling on ecg monitor, intensive care hospital unit

When Urgent Care is NOT the Right Choice

Wondering, “Should I go to urgent care?” While urgent care centers are fantastic for a wide range of situations, they aren’t equipped to handle everything. Here’s a breakdown of when urgent care might not be the best course of action:

Life-threatening emergencies

In any situation where you suspect a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or proceed directly to the nearest emergency room. Don’t hesitate – every second counts! Here are some signs that indicate a life-threatening emergency:

  • Chest pain, difficulty breathing, or severe upper body pain: These symptoms could indicate a heart attack, stroke, or other serious medical condition.
  • Sudden weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking: These symptoms could be signs of a stroke and require immediate medical attention.
  • Severe bleeding: If you are experiencing uncontrolled bleeding, you need to go to the emergency room to stop the bleeding and prevent further complications.
  • Head injury with loss of consciousness or confusion: Any head injury that results in loss of consciousness or confusion needs to be evaluated by an emergency room doctor.
  • Seizures: If you or someone you are with is experiencing a seizure, call 911 immediately.
  • Severe allergic reactions: If you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction with symptoms like trouble breathing, swelling of the face or throat, or dizziness, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.
  • Severe burns: Deep or extensive burns require immediate medical attention at a hospital burn unit.

Chronic conditions requiring ongoing management by a primary care physician

Urgent care centers are designed to address urgent, non-life-threatening conditions. If you have a chronic condition that requires ongoing management, your primary care physician is the best resource. Here are some examples of chronic conditions that are better managed by a primary care doctor:

  • Diabetes: Diabetes requires careful monitoring and management of blood sugar levels, medication adjustments, and regular check-ups.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure needs to be monitored and managed through medication and lifestyle changes. Your primary care physician can develop a personalized plan for you.
  • Heart disease: Heart disease requires ongoing monitoring and treatment to manage risk factors and prevent complications.
  • Autoimmune diseases: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease require specialized care and ongoing management by a primary care physician or rheumatologist.
  • Mental health conditions: Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder require ongoing treatment and support from a qualified mental health professional.

Tips for An Efficient Urgent Care Visit

So you’ve decided urgent care is the right fit for you. Here are some key tips to ensure a smooth and efficient visit, helping you get the most out of your urgent care experience.

1. Choose the right urgent care center.

The first step to optimizing the efficiency of your urgent care visit is to choose a reputable center, such as Total Point Urgent Care.

2. Know your wait times.

Many urgent care centers allow you to check wait times online before you head in.

3. Have your insurance information ready.

This will help expedite the check-in process.

4. Be prepared to explain your symptoms.

The more information you can provide the medical staff, the better equipped they will be to diagnose and treat you.

5. Follow up with your primary care physician.

If you are treated at urgent care, it’s important to follow up with your primary care physician for any ongoing care and discuss any preventative measures you can take to avoid similar issues in the future.

Woman Doctor prescribes medicine to young patient to treating his disease

Finding the Right Care for You

Urgent care centers offer valuable services for a wide range of non-emergency medical needs. By understanding when urgent care is the right choice, you can ensure prompt and effective treatment while keeping emergency room resources available for those who need them most. 

If you’re looking for a convenient and affordable urgent care center in Texas, check out Total Point Urgent Care. They offer extended hours, compassionate care, and a commitment to getting you back on your feet as quickly as possible. Contact them today!

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