Urgent care centers are available in every town, but there is always the question of when to go to urgent care versus the emergency room. There are times when urgent care is much more efficient, especially with their ability to see all patients as they come in.
What is Urgent Care
Urgent care is similar to the emergency room, usually open 24 hours a day and offering professional medical care for injuries and illnesses across the board. With so many sprains, strains and other athletic injuries that take place daily, there is a need for these doctors to at least get an initial look at injuries rather than making patients wait for hours in the emergency room. More immediate care is offered at urgent care, and these centers are often located every few miles, with several in each city or town. There is likely one just around the corner from your home.
When To Use Urgent Care
Sometimes the emergency room seems like the most reliable immediate option when there is an illness or injury that needs urgent care. However, the one important thing to remember is that urgent care centers are usually nearby and are often taking patients consistently, with much shorter wait times than the ER.
- When to Go to Urgent Care: First Items – The first set of items that are likely best to be handled at urgent care include things like sprains and strains, along with the potential broken bones that will be placed at the back of the list at the ER. Luckily, urgent care has a testing lab, and they are able to stabilize these injuries in the event that they need to be treated at the hospital or by your family physician.
- When to Go to Urgent Care: Second Items – The next set of items are those ugly illnesses that seem horrible when we have them but are not of the life-threatening sort that would bring them to the top of the list at the ER. Things like a heavy cough, chest congestion, ear infection, sinus infection, colds, flu, or others that may just need a prescription. With experienced medical professionals at urgent care, you can get prescriptions immediately without having to wait for hours at the ER to even be seen.
- When to Go to Urgent Care: Third Items – Additionally, some of the injuries or issues that can be taken to urgent care instead of emergency care include scrapes and scratches, headaches, abdominal pain, neck aches, and more. These may just need mild treatment, but there is always the possibility that something could become worse as you spend hours waiting in the emergency room for care.
There is much to gain from urgent care when you would typically have to wait so long in the emergency room. Additionally, the urgent care center tends to be lower in cost than the emergency room, making things easier on your insurance and your overall expenses.