Urgent care centers can be found throughout most large cities, and they have begun to open in smaller towns as well. However, some people are confused about them. Some of this has to do with the word urgent. Some people equate the word urgent with an emergency while others may not. It may be best to illustrate the use of an urgent care clinic by example. The following are a few situations when you should consider using urgent care.

You can't see your regular doctor right away

It can take a couple of weeks to see your regular doctor. But right now, you have the flu, your allergies are acting up, or you just have a bad cold. This type of sickness is usually reserved for your regular doctor, but you would like to see a doctor sooner, so you and get some medicine to relieve the symptoms. If you had to leave work early or called in sick, your employer may want to see a doctor's slip, and this type of form can be supplied to you.

You may need an x-ray or stitches

If you have fallen down or hurt your leg, arm, ankle wrist or other bone, an urgent care facility has an x-ray machine to determine if your bone is broken or it is just a sprain. In some cases, you may need to go to a hospital if the fracture is too serious for urgent care, but much of this can be treated by urgent care. If you have a cut but are not sure if you need stitches, this type of facility is a good choice. They can stitch up small wounds, so you can avoid an emergency room.

Your employee may have been hurt at work

If you are a business owner and your employee has been hurt on the job, it is important they see a doctor as soon as possible. This is especially true if your worker claims they are fine. You need to have a doctor at the injury to make sure it's not serious, perhaps an x-ray is done on a hand or arm to make sure nothing is broken. Even a small cut can become infected. An open wound needs to be dressed properly, and perhaps a tetanus shot will be needed. Your employee can be seen quickly, and documented treatment of a workplace injury is especially important if you carry workers' compensation insurance.

Walk-in emergency rooms are overcrowded, and you can wait hours for a doctor to look at you for something that warrants attention but is not a high priority in an emergency room. Urgent care facilities have been created to fill a need for those who need medical attention in the next few hours, but do not have an immediate emergency need and would like to avoid long waits in an emergency room.