Child at an Urgent Care Appointment |  | Caldwell Urgent Care ClinicUrgent care centers have become a popular alternative to emergency rooms for medical care. However, it can be challenging to determine when to visit an urgent care center instead of a primary care physician or an emergency room. This guide will help you understand when to visit an urgent care center and seek help from a Caldwell urgent care doctor.

What Is Urgent Care?

Urgent care centers are designed to provide immediate medical attention for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. These centers are open seven days a week and typically have extended hours, making it easier to get medical care on weekends and holidays. Urgent care centers provide a variety of medical services, including diagnostic testing, lab work, and X-rays.

When to Visit Urgent Care

Urgent care centers can treat a wide range of medical conditions, including:

  • Minor cuts and wounds
  • Sprains and strains
  • Minor fractures
  • Ear infections
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Respiratory infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rashes and skin irritations
  • UTIs and STD testing

If you have a medical condition that is not life-threatening but requires prompt medical attention, visiting an urgent care center is an excellent choice. Core Medicine of Idaho offers quick and affordable medical care for minor but time-sensitive medical conditions. In our walk-in clinic, you'll find medical providers and services similar to what you'd see at your local hospital—only without the delays and frustration caused by cumbersome hospital administrative systems.

What to Bring to an Urgent Care Visit

Here are some items that you should bring with you to ensure a smoother experience when you visit an urgent care center:

  • Driver's license or another form of ID
  • Insurance card
  • Payment for any co-pay that may be required
  • List of medications you're taking
  • Medical history, including any existing medical conditions, allergies, or surgeries that you've had in the past
  • A supportive friend or family member, if you think you may want help answering questions or jotting down important information from the doctor

When Not to Visit Urgent Care

Although urgent care clinics can treat a variety of illnesses and injuries, they are not always the best choice for your medical needs. It is important to understand when it would be more appropriate to visit an emergency room or a primary care physician.

When to Visit an Emergency Room

Urgent care centers are not equipped to handle life-threatening emergencies. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, you should call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room immediately. This includes situations such as:

  • Chest pain and heart attack symptoms
  • Severe bleeding
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Head injuries
  • Seizures
  • Severe burns
  • Difficulty breathing

Emergency room doctors and nurses follow a triage protocol to determine the order in which patients are seen. This protocol assigns a priority level to each patient based on the severity of the medical condition. If you visit the emergency room and do not have a life-threatening condition, you may need to wait several hours for treatment.

If you visit the emergency room unnecessarily, the cost of your care will be much higher than what is needed. The cost of care in an emergency room is typically higher than that of urgent care due to the advanced technology and specialists an ER must have available for life-threatening medical conditions. All patients share in the cost of these resources, regardless of the reason for their visit.

When to Visit a Primary Care Physician

Urgent care centers are not intended as a replacement for primary care physicians. If you have a chronic medical condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you should see your primary care physician for routine medical care and management of your condition. Additionally, primary care physicians can provide preventive health screenings and immunizations that are important for maintaining good overall health.

Core Medicine of Idaho is unique in that our facility provides the same services as a PCP without the usual long wait times or restricted schedules of a hospital-run medical practice. Our experienced medical team can care for your whole family in one clinic, providing long-term, individualized treatment plans for infants, children, adults, and seniors. In fact, many of our urgent care patients go on to become family care patients.

Services offered at Core Medicine of Idaho include:

  • Pediatric care
  • Care for chronic conditions, such as seasonal allergies, diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, or high blood pressure
  • Lab tests and X-rays
  • Yearly wellness checkups
  • Preventative health care services
  • Pre-employment physicals
  • Women's health exams