Urgent Care Wait Times Exceed 3 Hours: Are You Prepared to Wait?

You know the drill if you’ve been to an urgent care center lately. You show up feeling under the weather, hoping to get seen quickly and get on the road to recovery. But lately, that hope has been dashed for many patients. Urgent care centers nationwide are overwhelmed, sometimes waiting times exceeding 3 hours.

What’s causing the overcrowding?

There are a few factors contributing to the surge in urgent care visits.

  • The flu season: This year’s flu season is hitting early and hard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that flu activity is widespread in the United States and is only expected to worsen in the coming weeks.

  • RSV: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is another common respiratory virus circulating at high levels this year. RSV can cause mild, cold-like symptoms in adults, but it can be serious for infants and young children.

  • COVID-19: The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, and there have been recent upticks in cases in some parts of the country.

What can you do to prepare for a long wait?

If you think you need to go to urgent care, be prepared for a long wait. Here are a few tips:

  • Go early in the day or week. Urgent care centers tend to be busiest in the evenings and on weekends.

  • Bring something to keep yourself occupied. A book, magazine, or tablet can help pass the time.

  • Bring snacks and drinks. You may be waiting for a while, so it’s a good idea to have something to eat and drink.

  • Be patient. The staff at urgent care centers are doing their best to see everyone as quickly as possible.

Alternatives to urgent care

If you’re facing a long wait at urgent care, you may want to consider other options, such as:

  • Your primary care doctor. If you have a primary care doctor, they may be able to see you for an urgent care visit.

  • Telehealth. Several telehealth providers can offer urgent care services via video chat.

  • Home care. If you have a mild illness, you may be able to get the care you need at home from a home care provider.

Urgent care centers are a valuable resource for people who need medical attention that is not life-threatening but cannot wait for an appointment with their primary care doctor. However, it’s essential to know that wait times can be long, especially during the busy season. By being prepared and knowing your options, you can make the most of your urgent care visit.

In addition to the tips above, here are a few other things you can do to stay healthy this winter:

  • Get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat a healthy diet.

By taking these steps, you can help reduce your risk of getting sick and avoid having to go to urgent care in the first place.

I hope this blog post has been helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions about your health.