Top 9 Reasons for an Urgent Care Visit

At In and Out Express Care, we treat patients daily for a vast array of injury or illness. There are some we see more frequently than others. Here’s our rundown of the top nine reasons for urgent care visits.

1. Cold and flu

The top reason for urgent care visits is upper respiratory infections, which most commonly means a cold or the flu. Since symptoms of the two are similar, it can be difficult to determine which it is. A visit to an urgent care clinic is beneficial in these cases — if it is the flu, the doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to lessen the duration of the illness.

2. Sprains and strains

A sprained ankle, wrist, or knee are all common reasons for urgent care visits. It’s hard to know on your own whether a wrist or ankle injury could be a sprain or a fracture. An urgent care visit will make the diagnosis and confirm the correct course of treatment.

Muscle injuries like strained hamstrings are commonly seen in those with active lifestyles, like those who workout regularly, athletes, or people with demanding physical jobs. But strains are also common for anybody who overextends themselves (like helping a friend move heavy furniture one weekend!) — causing injuries such as back or shoulder strains.

3. Sore throat

A sore throat could be indicative of a cold or the flu, or in some cases, strep throat or mononucleosis. There is no treatment for mononucleosis, but a visit to an urgent care will rule out strep throat or identify any accompanying infections. Since strep throat is highly contagious and can become worse if untreated, it’s important to visit a doctor for appropriate antibiotics, particularly for children.

4. Urinary Tract infections (UTI)

A UTI is the second most common bacterial infection in the body. No wonder it makes this list of common urgent care ailments! It affects mostly women. A UTI does not usually go away on its own, so seeing a doctor to rule out other issues (like STDs or yeast infections) and receive antibiotic treatment is advised. If a woman with symptoms can’t get in to see her OB/GYN quickly, a short visit to the urgent care is all she needs! A simple urine test at an urgent care clinic will determine whether symptoms are indeed caused by a UTI.

5. Pink eye (Conjunctivitis)

While pink eye can clear up on its own, it remains a common reason people visit an urgent care, particularly if there are additional symptoms besides the eye being a pink color. Since the source of pink eye can be either bacterial or viral, any possible medication would need to be determined by a doctor to ensure the correct treatment — either antibiotics or steroids can be prescribed to help clear it up.

6. Gastrointestinal upset

Generally speaking, this can be described as stomach discomfort, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. The two most common gastrointestinal illnesses that exhibit these symptoms are food poisoning and the stomach flu. As with other issues on this list, the cause of each can be different, so it’s helpful to visit an urgent care clinic to determine the right way to treat it, if at all. (If it is food poisoning due to bacteria, antibiotics may be prescribed; whereas antibiotics are avoided for viral infections.)

7. Ear infection

Ear infections afflict both children and adults. In adults, since these infections typically don’t last more than a couple of days, a visit to an urgent care may be warranted only if it persists for longer or if additional symptoms are present. It is advised that young children and babies always be taken to a doctor if an ear infection is suspected. At In and Out Express Care, we treat children as young as two years old, and ear infections are a common complaint.

8. Rashes and insect bites

Rashes become especially common as the weather warms up and people spend more time outdoors. In the spring and summer months, cases of poison ivy, heat rashes, allergic reactions to skin products, and run-ins with insects all cause an influx of people to urgent care clinics.

In other cases, a rash may be a symptom of an underlying condition, like a serious infection or allergic reaction, especially when accompanied by a fever. Painful or blistering rashes are always cause for medical attention.

9. Cuts, scrapes, burns, and accidents

Accidents happen! When an accident doesn’t threaten life, limb, or eyesight, an urgent care is the place to go. Whether a tool slipped and nicked someone’s hand, two players collided on the soccer field, or a toddler took a tumble, we’ve seen the unexpected twists and turns that life brings! This is what urgent care was designed for, as it’s a cheaper and faster alternative to the emergency room.

Feel better fast.

Of course, we all want to avoid the need for urgent care! But if you or a family member should be stricken with one of these common afflictions — and you’re in Hampton Roads, Virginia — always remember you’re never far away from one of our four convenient urgent care locations. We make it our goal to get you feeling better, fast.