Is a walk-in clinic the answer to your sniffles?

It never fails... the weekend comes and the doctor's office is closed, and you get stricken with the plague. I'm not talking about a little sneezing and coughing and blowing your nose. (Shut up. Quit being such a baby. Go to bed.) I mean the kind of sick where you feel like you're on your deathbed, with serious coughing or other really scary symptoms. The kind of symptoms that really need to be checked out by a doctor.

Going to a hospital emergency room is stupid unless you really think your life is in danger. It's going to cost you a ton of money. You're going to wait for hours while they treat all the sicker people first. And you'll probably come out sicker than when you went in from being exposed to everyone else's germs.

So walk-in clinics and urgent care clinics are the answer, right? Well maybe, and maybe not. While they seem to be the logical choice, they're not always as cost-effective or patient-friendly as you might think. Here are some tips for deciding whether or not to go the walk-in clinic route: