Deciding what kind of medical attention you need can be a confusing situation. You might not know the difference between urgent care and ER visits. If you’ve ever wondered where to go in a time of illness or injury, you’re not alone. Urgent care centers have been around since the 1970s, and most individuals would be hard-pressed to know what exactly they’re for.
In this article, we’ll compare urgent care vs emergency room visits and where you should go for each situation.
Difference Between Urgent Care and ER
As confusing as it may seem, the answer to this question is actually quite simple. The main difference between urgent care and ER is the severity of your health. Urgent care, sometimes referred to as walk-in clinics, help bridge the gap when you become sick or injured and your usual doctor isn’t available for various reasons. If you know your primary care doctor could resolve the situation, urgent care should be your choice. When it comes to an emergency room trip, the situation has to rise to a higher level of concern.
Few medical conditions are considered emergencies that require immediate attention, even surgery. These conditions require a hospital setting where more equipment, medicine, and staff are available. Heading to the ER or calling 911 should be the result of a serious symptom.
Urgent Care Trips
In short, urgent care is not for emergencies. Urgent care centers are seen as same-day clinics. These clinics have the ability to handle non-emergency medical issues right away. These could be symptoms like small cuts that need stitches, a sprain/strain, or a cough/sore throat. If you have any symptoms related to these types of medical problems, urgent care is an appropriate choice. There are over 7,100 centers in the United States, so finding urgent care near you shouldn’t be a problem.
When to Consider the Emergency Room
If you have a life-threatening condition, a trip to the ER is in order. By answering the question of urgent care or the emergency room, you should know the emergency room is for concerning conditions. Fear of heart attack, stroke, or loss of vision, are a few of the symptoms that would warrant an emergency room visit. There are 136.3 million emergency department visits in the United States annually. If you do head to the urgent care center for any serious condition, odds are they’ll send you to the ER or call 911 for you.
Deciding between going to urgent care vs ER can be a financial decision. ER visits can cost thousands of dollars while urgent care trips may only cost a hundred, but you should set finances aside when it comes to the severity of a health condition. Most insurance plans will also outline the difference in cost between both types of visits.
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