Should You Go to the Emergency Room Or Urgent Care?

Local urgent care

When you need medical care, you go to the doctor. But first you must make an appointment; hopefully there is a time slot that works with your schedule. For all the trouble patients go through to actually get to their doctor, the visit must be for an ailment more pressing than a late flu vaccination. When you need urgent medical care, you go to the emergency room. But not so fast! The emergency room is for severe injuries that need immediate attention. How can you tell if you need to go to the emergency room or just the local urgent care? Read below.

What is urgent care? It is different than the emergency room, that’s for certain. An “urgent” ailment is an injury or illness that was unforeseen and if untreated could possibly lead to lasting damage to a major organ or limb. In other words, something that if not seen to fairly quickly will result in a severe deterioration of health. For example, a severe sore throat (possible strep throat), broken bone, or abnormally high fever are a few ailments that are worrisome, but do not seem to be critical enough to sit in the emergency room for hours and hours.

A big benefit of going to your local urgent care is you will likely save quite a bit of time. Emergency rooms at hospitals are infamous for taking a long time because of the necessity of triage. In one study by The Urgent Care Association of America, about 57% of patients were seen by a physician in as little as 15 minutes; roughly 80% of all patients are seen within 60 minutes. This is great news for patients who are already feeling poorly and would rather be resting at home, such as those patients with broken bones. Thankfully, four out of five local urgent care centers provide specialized care for fractures.

When yourself or a loved one becomes ill or injured suddenly, it is stressful. You want them to feel better as soon as possible. A trip to the emergency room is a knee-jerk reaction many people have, but it is not always the only course of action. A heartache or severe puncture wound: time to go to the hospital. A high fever or possible fracture? Look for the nearest urgent care.

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