The Most Common Illnesses Treated at Urgent Care

A visit to the emergency room can cost you twice as much as an urgent care visit.

Yet how do you know if you need to visit a hospital, or if an urgent care visit will do just as well? And when should you wait and schedule an appointment with your regular physician?



Simply stated, people seek urgent care treatment for non-life-threatening medical conditions that require same-day attention.

What are some of the most common illnesses that urgent care facilities treat? Let’s take a look.

1. The Common Cold





The average American gets 2-3 colds each year. Symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, and headaches.

Folks are most susceptible to colds during the fall and winter. Children under six years old and adults with weakened immune systems are especially prone to contracting them.

Common home remedies for the common cold include vitamins, chicken soup, and lots of fluids. If symptoms persist, an urgent care center can prescribe additional medication.

2. Bronchitismost common illnesses

Symptoms of bronchitis include those of the common cold, with additional complications. Inflammation of the bronchial tubes can lead to a wet cough that causes aching ribs. You may also experience wheezing, chills, and a fever.

A cold or virus can lead to acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is common with smokers.

A physician at an urgent care facility can diagnose acute bronchitis by listening to your lungs and confirming your symptoms.

Bronchitis is often treated with fluids, rest, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Most cases go away within 7-10 days, although you may continue to cough for two weeks.

3. The Flu

Your flu will differ from a cold in a number of ways. It will come upon you suddenly, rather than gradually. It also comes with a fever, aches and pains, and chills.

An urgent care physician can diagnose your flu by giving you a physical exam. They may also collect a swab sample from the back of your throat. These can diagnose the flu in about 15 minutes.

Your doctor can prescribe some oral and inhaled medications to help alleviate your symptoms. Your physician will also recommend lots of fluids, over-the-counter pain relievers, and plenty of rest.

4. Sinusitis

One of the most common urgent care illnesses is sinusitis. This may start as a common cold, but your sinus cavity has become infected. Symptoms include a sinus headache, facial pain, eye pain, and post-nasal drip.

An urgent care physician can diagnose you with sinusitis through an examination. It is often treated with nasal sprays and antibiotics.

5. Ear Infections

Ear infections are especially common in children under 13 years old. It is an infection in the middle ear caused by a virus or bacteria.

Children with ear infections often pull their ears or cry more than usual. Both children and adults can experience fever and severe ear pain.

An urgent care physician can diagnose an ear infection with an instrument called a pneumatic otoscope. They can look into the inner ear and see if there is fluid under the eardrum.

Ear infections are treated with prescribed medications and ear-drops, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers.

6. Pink Eye

Bacteria, a virus, allergies, chemicals, or pollution can cause pink eye. Your urgent care physician can diagnose pink eye based upon your symptoms, history, and an examination of the eye.

Bacterial pink eye can be treated using an antibiotic ointment, treatment, or pills. Viral pink eye will need to run its course. It usually lasts anywhere from 5-7 days.

7. Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) are more common in women than they are in men. In fact, over half of all women will have at least one UTI in their lifetime.

Symptoms of a UTI include a burning sensation when you urinate, a frequent urge to urinate even though nothing comes out, and pain or pressure in your lower back or abdomen.

Your urgent care physician can diagnose a UTI using a urine sample. They are treated with antibiotics.

8. Ankle Sprain or Strain

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligament on one of your ankles is completely torn.

A strain, on the other hand, is a twist, pull, or tear of your muscle or tendon.

Imaging tests are used to give a proper diagnosis of your ankle injury. An ankle brace, physical therapy, and ice are frequently used to treat ankle sprains and strains.

If you cannot stand on your ankle, or if there is a lot of swelling, it could be broken. In these cases, a trip to the emergency room or orthopedist may be required to set the ankle.

9. Skin Infections

Common types of skin infections include cellulitis and impetigo. Itching, pain, redness, and tenderness of the skin are all common symptoms.

To diagnose a skin infection, your urgent care physician may do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. They can also conduct a skin culture.

Skin infections are usually treated with topical antibiotics. More serious infections may require a cut and drainage.

The Most Common Illnesses Treated at Urgent Care

The most common illnesses treated at urgent care are those that require immediate attention. If your sinus condition has become severe, or you have twisted an ankle painfully, your local urgent care can be the quickest, inexpensive, and efficient way to get you back on your feet. And you won’t have to wait a few days to get an appointment with your regular physician.

For more information on how urgent care can help you, read our blog today.

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