When you suffer an injury or illness, getting the treatment you need should be your top priority. When you can’t wait for a scheduled appointment with your primary care provider, where should you go? Many people assume the answer is the emergency room, but that’s actually wrong! Keep reading to learn more about when you should seek care at the emergency room and when you should seek care at the urgent care.
What Services Does Urgent Care Offer?
Urgent care centers offer more services than most people realize. Some of the most notable services offered include:
- STD testing
- X-ray imaging
- Blood work
- Injury treatment including fractures and strains
- Illness treatment
- Illness prevention through vaccines
An urgent care is a comprehensive care center that can evaluate, diagnose, and treat you all in one place. If further treatment is needed, the urgent care can typically provide a referral to a specialist.
When to Go to the Emergency Room
If the urgent care can do all of that, when should you visit the emergency room? The only time you should use the emergency room is in the event of a life-threatening injury or illness. Emergency rooms are designed to treat the most severe patients first. That means that if you go in for a non-life-threatening injury or illness, you will be their last priority.
Perks of Opting for Urgent Care
Opting for a trip to urgent care rather than the emergency room will help you in multiple ways. First, you’ll save time and get the care you need more quickly! Unlike an emergency room, urgent care centers treat people on a first-come first-serve basis. No matter what you’re there for, you’ll get treated in the order you arrived. You’ll also be able to get that care without breaking the bank! Urgent care centers offer the same care as an emergency room at a fraction of the cost and are able to accept most major insurance companies. Finally, you’ll get to enjoy the flexible hours of a walk-in clinic! Many urgent care centers open early and stay open late to accommodate your schedule better than a primary care provider can.
It’s a good idea to get familiar with your local urgent care center before you actually need to go. Look online for urgent care centers near you, review their hours of operation, and find out who accepts your insurance. Next time you need care, you’ll know right where to go!