When to go to an Urgent Care Center vs ER

Cast for hand injuryWhen it comes to experiencing random and severe abdominal pains or a sprained ankle from soccer practice, you may want to seek immediate medical attention.  But what happens when your doctor’s office is closed and the cost of the emergency room makes you hesitant to check yourself in?  Urgent care centers bridge the gap of seeking immediate medical attention when your doctor’s office is closed and the emergency room is too expensive.

When it comes to certain medical conditions, it’s important to know the difference between going to the emergency room or going to an urgent care center.

When to go to the emergency room

Emergency room visits are the best option for sudden and severe injuries, illnesses, or infections that can be life-threatening.  Emergency rooms are opened 24/7 and treat a wide range of conditions.  A few reasons you may want to visit the ER include:

  • Severe injuries that require surgery
  • Signs of a stroke, heart attack, seizures, or sudden severe pain
  • Unconsciousness
  • Poisoning or severe allergic reaction
  • Complications during pregnancy

When to go to an urgent care center

If the condition is not life-threatening but needs to be treated the same day, a visit to an urgent care center is a great alternative.  Urgent care centers have late nights and weekends, which makes it easy for patients to be treated when their primary care physician isn’t available, and they want to skip the wait and cost of the emergency room.

  • Flu and cold symptoms
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain
  • Minor cuts that may require stitches
  • Minor sprains and broken bones
  • Minor abdominal or back pain
  • Breathing discomfort
  • Ear infections
  • Animal or insect bites
  • Seasonal allergy relief

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