Feeling sick? Been injured? In the event of a medical crisis, sometimes it’s hard to determine where you should seek treatment. Used to be that you’d contact your doctor or go directly to the nearest Emergency Room. Now, with the advent of Urgent care facilities, more expedient and less costly health care options are available.
When you have a life-threatening situation, such as chest pain, the emergency room of the nearest hospital is the only option. But if your condition is not life threatening, but requires immediate attention, choosing an urgent care clinic can save you time and money, (Urgent Care clinic visits are typically 1/3 to 1/5 the cost of an ER visit), as well as keeping the emergency room free to deal with more serious situations.
Is it an Urgent Care Situation?
Urgent Care Clinics frequently treat:
- Colds, Coughs, and Flu
- Bruises, Abrasions, and Cuts
- Eye, Skin, and Ear Infections
- Sprains or Strains
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Respiratory Infections such as Bronchitis
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Sinus Infections
- Strep Throat
- Moderate Fever
Urgent Care Clinics also frequently provide flu shots, employment, D.O.T., and school physicals and drug & alcohol testing.
Is it an Emergency Situation?
Generally, an emergency is a condition that can threaten a life or cause impairment and should be treated at an E.R. The initial minutes after an injury or other medical crisis are often the most critical. Symptoms that generally indicate an emergency include:
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Head injury
- Chest Pains
- Suspected Overdose
- Inability to breath or shortness of breath
- Numbness or paralysis of an arm or leg
- Intense Pain
And when in doubt, call ahead. If the urgent care facility can accommodate you, they can also provide estimated wait times. If the urgent care clinic can’t accommodate your condition, they will advise you to go to the nearest emergency facility.