When To Visit The ER And When To Visit An Urgent Care

Chances are good at some point in life you’ve experienced the following scenario: it’s the middle of the night and out of nowhere you wake up with unbearable pain, a fever or some other medical issue. You’re likely in a great deal of discomfort, you’re scared and you’re wondering what the heck you should do.

One of your first thoughts might be to head to the hospital to seek emergency room care. That’s certainly one track you can take, but chances are that you might be in for a long wait. Before you try and seek emergency room care, consider the following medical aliments and whether or not any of them apply to you.

  • Feelings of fainting or dizziness
  • Feelings of sudden numbness or weakness
  • Bleeding that you’re not able to stop
  • Chest pains
  • Any sort of breathing difficulty such as wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Intense, localized abdominal pain
  • Bloody urine or bloody diarrhea
  • A severe headache which can’t be relieved with over-the-counter aspirin
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Confusion or any severe changes in your mental status

If any of these apply to you, don’t hesitate to seek out emergency room care. Even the most severe of symptoms might not seem like that big of a deal, but you don’t want to take any chances if something doesn’t feel right. The last thing you want to have happen is to have a severe medical issue at the worst possible time when you’re nowhere near a hospital.

The symptoms and conditions mentioned above are just a few of the scenarios in which you could find yourself in need of emergency room care. If any of them apply, a trip to the ER should be made without a second thought. But be mindful when you’re self-diagnosing. If you’ve got an easily remedied issue and decide to make a trip to the ER, you could be in for a long wait and a big bill.

So what happens if you’ve got a less severe medical issue? Instead of making a trip to the ER or emergency room care, you can visit an urgent care.

What is an urgent care clinic, you ask. It’s simple: it’s a type of walk-in clinic that will get you in to see a doctor faster and can treat many types of non life-threating aliments. More than three million people visit urgent care facilities around the United States each week for a variety of treatments.

The list of symptoms the average urgent care facility can treat continues to grow by the year. As it stands, the average urgent care facility can treat people for ear infections, sexually transmitted diseases, muscle strain, dizziness, sprains, common sports injuries and many other things.

Some of them might vary in the services they offer, but when it comes to urgent care facilities what all of them offer is a quicker and more cost-effective way to treat a number of common, everyday medical ailments much faster than if you visited an ER.

As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll get in a lot faster to see a doctor when you go to an urgent care clinic. More than half of urgent care facilities have a wait time of less than 15 minutes and most of them have a physician on site at all times to treat patients. Urgent care centers stay open longer too. Most are open until at least 7 p.m. on weekdays and some are even open until 9 p.m. or later. Depending on where you live, you may find urgent care facilities that open prior to 9 a.m. and are open on weekends.

If you’ve got a life-threatening issue, please do what’s best for your health and visit the emergency room. You don’t roll the dice on your health just to save money or time. Emergency room doctors play an important role in medical care and if you’re suffering from a severe injury or something like food poisoning, they’re the ones you need to see. Don’t wait.

But for non life-threatening injuries and common, easily-treatable symptoms and conditions, an urgent care clinic can save you time and money while getting rid of your discomfort much faster.

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