Should I Go To The ER Or An Urgent Care Center?

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Many times, we wonder if we can go to a clinic, an urgent care center, or the ER. When we enroll in medical insurance, we often get alerted about what are copays are for each, and they can be really different. As a general rule, if you can wait to make an appointment or wait to be seen by a doctor, then go to a clinic. If the illness or injury is more serious, you might need to consider going to either an urgent care clinic, or seek emergency room care.

Now that we have it limited to two options, though, how do I know what can be treated at an urgent care center and what needs emergency room care? The answer is pretty simple, and you can read about it below. When trying to decide, keep these tips in mind.

1. Would you wait to tell your doctor?

When deciding whether to go to urgent care or seek emergency room care, you need to think about this question. If you were able to get an appointment, is this illness or injury something you would tell your doctor? Does it seem like something that needs more specialized attention? Does it seem like it’s too serious of an issue and you would want to go to the hospital, then urgent care is not for you. Urgent care clinics are meant for the person who would like to see their doctor, but might be facing a long wait time. Urgent care helps you get care without having to wait too long.

2. Is your condition an emergency?

If your condition is a true medical emergency, you will need to go to the emergency room. Symptoms that may require an emergency room visit include persistent chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe pain, loss of balance, fainting, difficulty speaking, paralysis, heart palpitations and broken bones. Other symptoms that require ER visits include severe cold and flu symptoms, persistent vomiting, seizures, and deep cuts that need stitching.

3. What illnesses can be treated at an urgent care center?

The good news is that if you are not having any of these emergency symptoms, you can most likely visiting an urgent care center. Examples of illnesses and injuries that can be treated at an urgent care center include bites, dizziness, cuts and burns, flu shots, physicals, screenings, HIV testing, strep throat, vomiting, sore throat, and skin irritations. There are many other ailments that can also be treated at an urgent care center, as long as you feel it is not a true, life-threatening emergency.

For information, give us a call today to see if urgent care help is right for you!