Going to Urgent Care For a Cut

Urgent care centers are prepared to treat a wide range of conditions including concussions, broken bones, and mild illness. One type of injury they see quite often is cuts or lacerations. They can treat such cuts pretty easily, applying stitches if needed and sometimes also prescribing antibiotics or pain relievers. But if you're about to head to urgent care for a cut for the first time, you may benefit from the advice below.

1. Call ahead.

Some urgent care centers offer a call-ahead option. If they know you are on your way, they will reserve you a place in line, which cuts down on how long you'll need to wait once you get there. Since stitches work best when applied within a few hours of the injury, rapid treatment is important, which makes calling ahead worthwhile. If the urgent care center is really slow that day, they may tell you to come right in rather than putting you on a list.

2. Bring someone else.

Even if you can drive yourself to the urgent care center, it's a good idea to bring someone else along. Getting stitches can be more painful than you planned for. It's nice to have someone there to hold your hand. After the experience, you might also feel a bit woozy or tired from the pain, and having someone drive you home will be helpful. It's also nice to have a second person there to listen to the doctor's aftercare instructions. You can miss things when you're stressed out and in pain.

3. Bring your insurance card and a credit or debit card.

Urgent care centers generally work with the most prominent health insurance companies in the area. However, they also aim to provide affordable care to anyone without insurance. For small procedures, like stitching up a cut, the out-of-pocket fee is sometimes less than your insurance copay. So, bring along your insurance information, but always ask the receptionist how much your bill would be if you were to pay out of pocket instead. If you have $100 copays for urgent care, but the center only wants $70 out of pocket, then the choice is clear.

Having a cut stitched and treated at an urgent care center is a rather minor deal. However, it can help if you call ahead, have someone come with you, and bring multiple forms of payment information. You'll be feeling better in no time.