A walk in clinic is convenient for non-emergency medical care when you can’t see your regular doctor.
In general, these facilities provide treatment for minor health issues like flu-like symptoms and basic wound care. Walk in clinics typically have shorter wait times than hospitals or other medical practices making them practical for immediate care.
If you’ve come down with something suddenly or believe you just need a quick check-up, it may be worth your while to go to a walk in clinic instead of spending time waiting in a hospital emergency room.
Walk in clinics can also be useful if you don’t have access to healthcare through an employer or medical insurance provider since they generally accept multiple payment methods.
Let’s break down what ailments walk in clinics can treat and when it may be a good choice for you:
What conditions can walk in clinics treat?
Walk in clinics are often staffed by emergency medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants that can offer care for minor illnesses and injuries.
Common ailments treated at walk in clinics include:
- Colds or the flu
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- STD testing
- Strep throat
- Pink eye
- Minor burns and abrasions
- Sprains and strains
- Insect bites/stings
- Sinus infections
Walk in clinics also provide preventive care services like physical exams, vaccinations, travel medicine consultations, sports physicals, and clearances for school activities.
What makes a walk in clinic unique?
Walk in clinics offer a convenient and accessible alternative to waiting for an appointment with your primary care physician.
Often, these clinics provide shorter wait times than traditional doctors’ offices and are staffed by certified medical professionals such as nurse practitioners.
Along with providing treatments for minor illnesses and injuries such as sprains, fractures, cuts, rashes, and allergies—many of these clinics offer laboratory tests with relatively quick results.
Whether it’s for convenience or access to quality care that you need, walk in clinics may fulfill that need.
Are walk in clinics expensive?
Many people think walk in clinics must be expensive, but this isn’t necessarily true.
Prices vary from location to location and depending on your insurance coverage, you might find a walk in clinic to be affordable.
Even if you don’t have insurance, many providers offer sliding scale fees for their services and accept various forms of payment, like credit cards, personal checks, and cash.
ER, urgent care, or a walk in clinic: Which should you choose
If you’re unsure whether your condition warrants an ER visit or a trip to the local walk in clinic, you must assess your symptoms carefully.
For example, if you’re experiencing chest pain or difficulty breathing, it’s recommended that you head directly to an emergency room or call 911.
On the other hand, a walk in clinic might be the best option if you’re dealing with something like a fever or sore throat.
Finally, if you’re dealing with something more severe than a walk in clinic can handle but too minor for the ER trip—like a fracture—urgent care may be what you need.
As a general rule, if your condition is not life-threatening and can be treated with over-the-counter medication, but you feel like you can benefit from professional medical care, a trip to a walk in clinic may be beneficial.
If you have doubts about whether your condition warrants a trip to the walk in clinic, don’t hesitate to call your local clinic. The staff will be more than happy to help you make the best decision for your health.