Top 10 Reasons to Seek an Urgent Care Visit


Illnesses and accidents rarely hit at convenient times or give you time to plan an appointment in advance. Fortunately, urgent care offers fast, affordable care — usually at a lower cost than emergency room (ER) treatment. 

When your condition isn’t severe enough to make a trip to the ER but you don’t have time to schedule a primary care visit, urgent care is an excellent option. At Prima Medicine, our providers offer comprehensive urgent and immediate care services to patients at our locations in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia.  

Emergency room care providers treat the most serious or life-threatening issues first. This makes sense, but it also means that if you have an urgent but non-life-threatening condition, you might wait hours for medical care. 

That’s why providers recommend urgent care for non-life-threatening medical issues that require urgent or near-urgent care. Here’s a look at the top ten reasons patients visit urgent care.

1. Upper respiratory infections and viruses

One of the top reasons people visit urgent care is for help managing upper respiratory infections and viruses, such as colds, COVID, the flu, mononucleosis, or sinus infections. Since these conditions share similar symptoms, it can be challenging to know what’s causing you to feel sick. 

2. Sprains and strains

Suffering from a painful sprain or strain, such as a twisted ankle, sore wrist, or knee sprain, are all common reasons for visiting urgent care. Seeing a trained medical professional in these cases makes sense, as it’s difficult to tell on your own whether these injuries are fractures, sprains, or strains. 

3. Sore throats

Sore throats are rarely a medical emergency and often accompany viruses, but they can also signal a serious infection, such as strep throat. Strep throat is caused by a highly contagious bacteria, and if left untreated, it can worsen and cause serious complications.

If you or your loved one has a sore throat with any of the following symptoms, schedule an urgent care visit at Prima Medicine as soon as possible:

  • Sore throat lasting more than seven days
  • Fever higher than 101°F
  • Severe sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • White patches on the tonsils
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Hoarseness
  • Earache
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen glands
  • Facial or neck swelling
  • Rash

You should also schedule a visit if you’re experiencing recurring sore throats.  

4. Urinary tract infections (UTI)

UTIs are common bacterial infections that affect women more often than men. Since UTIs don’t typically resolve on their own, and because they share symptoms with other gynecological problems, such as sexually transmitted diseases, it’s important to see a medical provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. 

5. Eye infections or issues

If you’re struggling with an eye infection, such as pink eye, or you start experiencing other problematic eye issues, join the many people who visit urgent care for these reasons. Sometimes, eye infections are viral, but they can also be bacterial. Your Prima Medicine provider advises you which you have, when to follow up with an eye doctor, and prescribes any necessary medication.

6. Digestive issues

Digestive issues and stomach discomfort are other common reasons to seek urgent care. Many conditions can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain, including food poisoning, stomach flu, gallbladder issues, appendicitis, and more. Seeing a provider can ensure you get the care you need. 

7. Ear infections

Both adults and children can suffer from ear infections, which can cause ear pain, fever, trouble hearing, and difficulty sleeping. It’s a good idea to bring in young children with symptoms of an ear infection as soon as possible. For adults, if your symptoms last more than a few days, schedule an urgent care visit at Prima Medicine. 

8. Rashes and insect bites or stings

Rashes have many causes, including poison ivy, heat, allergic reactions, and insect bites or stings. Sometimes insect bites or stings can cause an infection or allergic reaction. If you have a rash or bite or sting that’s not getting better or is accompanied by a fever, call Prima Medicine to see a provider right away. 

9. Accidents, burns, cuts, scrapes, and other wounds

When you have an accident or wound that isn’t life-threatening or doesn’t pose a serious concern to your eyes or limbs, urgent care is the right place to seek treatment. Your provider helps manage your bleeding using stitches or bandages to reduce the risk of infection and scarring and provides recommendations for follow-up care.

10. Being uninsured/underinsured

Many people visit an urgent care center because they don’t have health insurance or are underinsured. At Prima Medicine, we take most major insurances. However, we also offer self-pay options for patients without insurance or whose insurance doesn’t offer adequate coverage. 

If you need urgent care, we can help. To get a same-day or next-day evaluation, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.

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