Why Urgent Care May Not Be Your Best Choice

When you or a family member get sick, do you go to urgent care? If so, you may want to reconsider.

Urgent care facilities have become common. Most people live within close proximity to one or more. These facilities can be handy for quick-fix issues that need speedy attention, but don’t require an emergency room. Urgent care often is open after hours and on weekends, making it a convenient option for busy people. In addition, they are often less expensive than a visit to the emergency room.

Despite all of this, depending on your reason for visiting, urgent care may not be your best choice. Here’s why:

1. Lack of medical history
Your family physician or pediatrician knows you and your children best. They have records of all of your previous visits and are familiar with your medical history. The urgent care facility will not have this same understanding of your background. They will be able to assess your current illness or ailment, but will not have your full medical history to add context to the situation.

2. Possible drug interaction issues
You always want to be careful about drug interactions between anything you are taking now and whatever the urgent care physician prescribes. Because that physician does not have your full medical history, they also may not know what you are currently taking or what you have had experience with – good or bad – in the past. If you do go to urgent care, make sure you tell them everything about medications you are taking now, allergies, or adverse effects you have experienced in the past. Then check with your pharmacist and your family physician to make sure the any medication prescribed by the urgent care physician is safe for you to take.

3. Difficulty following up
When you visit urgent care, you may have trouble following up with the physician you saw. Sometimes the staff you saw at night is not available during the day, or they may hold a position with another medical facility during other hours. Often, the urgent care physician will tell you during your visit to schedule a follow-up appointment with your own family physician. This is always a good idea and will give you the opportunity to address any questions or concerns you had after your urgent care facility, as well as allow your family physician to update your medical history.

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