You've seen the urgent care signs around town. But, you aren't sure why you should choose one over going to the doctor's office. While there are times when this type of medical care isn't in order (such as when you have a life-threatening injury or illness or another emergency situation), these walk-in style clinics have plenty of benefits. If you're confused about what kind of health care services are offered or when to seek help, check out some of the reasons to choose an urgent care clinic.

It's After Hours

Illnesses and injuries don't run on a Monday through Friday 9 to 5 schedule. As long as it's not an emergency (in that case you would go to the nearest hospital's emergency department), an urgent care clinic is an afterhours option. Even though these clinics typically operate during normal business hours when other medical offices do too, they often have hours that go into the later evening. They are also usually open on Saturdays and Sundays, when other medical offices are closed.

You Don't Have An Appointment

You woke up with a sore throat and a fever. So, you call your family physician's office. They give you an appointment—in four days. You don't want to sit around and suffer. That's where urgent care comes in. You don't need an appointment for one of these clinics. That means you can get care the same day that you need it.

Your Child Needs a Physical

The summer camp physical form is due tomorrow. But, you forgot to schedule an appointment with the pediatrician. You call the office, and it's been too long since your child's last well-visit for the doctor to sign the form. What do you do? Head out to the urgent care clinic. Not only do these health care centers help you out when you're sick or injured, but they also typically also offer physical (or well-visit) services too.

It's Quicker Than the Hospital

You may have broken a toe. You're not sure, and it doesn't really seem like an emergency. You call your regular doctor's office, and they tell you to get it x-rayed. A trip to the ER for something that isn't major may mean a full day's wait. Most urgent care clinics have diagnostic services, such as x-rays. The doctor at the walk-in clinic can x-ray your foot, tell you if your toe is broken and splint it. If the injury requires more complex care, they can send you to the hospital or refer you to a specialist. This isn't true for broken bones only. You can find treatment for other non-emergency issues quicker at an urgent care center than at a hospital.

Keep in mind, true emergencies require hospital care. Urgent care clinics are best for patients who have everyday illnesses (such as a cold or strep throat) or minor injuries. Contact a center like Meadowbrook Urgent Care for more information.