Should You Go to an Urgent Care for Burns
A burn is an injury to any body tissue caused by heat, electricity, chemicals or friction. The injury is considered severe when enough damage has occurred for redness, swelling or pain to occur. Without treatment, severe burns could lead to infection and/or death. Minor burns that aren’t life-threatening generally heal on their own with minimal treatment. However, patients who experience nausea, dizziness or lightheadedness due to a burn should be seen by a doctor at an urgent care facility rather than waiting until morning or going straight to an emergency room—while those symptoms could be indicative of something else entirely (like high blood pressure), they’re also common reactions after a minor burn.
You should go to an urgent care center if your burn isn’t severe enough to need a visit to an emergency room. The clinics also see patients who need follow-up care for certain types of injuries, like concussions and athletic injuries. Many urgent cares are open extended hours and even on weekends, making them an ideal option for patients who don’t have easy access to primary care providers. A nurse practitioner or physician assistant will evaluate your symptoms and may send a patient home with appropriate over-the-counter medication or recommend that they visit their family doctor within 24 hours for additional treatment.
An extensive burn requires immediate medical attention, but there are other less severe burns where your best bet may be to visit an urgent care clinic. As with any first aid treatment, it’s critical that you evaluate your burn based on its size and severity before deciding how to proceed. If you have access to running water, it’s always a good idea to use that as opposed to cold water in order to avoid shocking or irritating sensitive skin. In general, minor burns can typically be treated with cleaning and bandaging at home. But if a burn is deep or larger than 3 inches wide, see a doctor right away or visit an urgent care clinic for further treatment.