It’s 6pm on a Friday night and the chest cold you’ve been fighting off for the past week has suddenly gotten worse. Your temperature is high, your cough is becoming more painful and you’re not sure you’ll be able to wait until Monday morning to see your regular doctor (that’s assuming you’ll even be able to get an early morning appointment at his busy clinic).
So what do you do? Rush to the Emergency Room? Should you suffer through the weekend and hope for the best, or should you visit an urgent care center?
If you said visit an urgent care center, you’re correct. Urgent care is medical care for an issue that requires urgent medical attention but is not considered life threatening. An urgent care clinic won’t replace your family doctor. Instead, think about urgent care as a bridge between your primary care doctor and the emergency room.
So how do you know when to go to an urgent care clinic?
Urgent Care versus Emergency Room – When to use each one
According to a study carried out in 2010, it was estimated that between 13 and 27 percent of all emergency department visits could be treated at an alternative site . That means a large number of people who make the trip to an emergency room don’t actually need emergency services, diverting emergency medical resources away from patients who actually do need them.
Seeking treatment at an urgent care center is often more appropriate and efficient for many medical needs. For example, A+ Family Urgent Care offers fast, appropriate medical treatment for medical problems such as:
- Broken bones (on-site x-rays are available)
- Nausea and stomach pain
- Moderate flu-like symptoms
- Sprains and strains
- Small cuts and wounds that may require stitches
- Minor infections
- Burn injuries (1st and 2nd degree)
- Common cold, fever or cough
Other services provided include:
- Worker’s compensation issues
- Minor auto accidents
- Flu shots
- Employment, school or sports physicals
When to go to the Emergency Room
If you’re still unsure about what medical problems need to be seen in the ER, here are a few examples:
- Chest pain or difficulty breathing
- Weakness/numbness on one side of your body
- Head injuries
- Penetrating eye injuries
- Fainting/change in mental state
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Falls from height
The benefits of going to A Plus Family Urgent Care:
- No appointments are required – come when it is convenient for you
- We’re available 7 days a week from 10 am to 10 pm, 360 days a year
- It’s fast – most patients are seen quickly and released within an hour
- Most medical care provided is comparable to that you would get in the ER
- It’s much cheaper –urgent care procedures usually cost a fraction of what they do in an ER
- All major forms of insurance are accepted, and cash paying patients are always welcomed
- An in-house pharmacy is available, often saving you a second trip to pick up a prescription
Urgent care centers are a great resource to use when your doctors office is closed or completely booked and you need same-day service, providing a safe, quick and practical alternative for your urgent medical needs.
1) Weinick RM, Burns RM, Mehrotra A. Many emergency department visits could be managed at urgent care centers and retail clinics. Health Aff (Millwood). 2010;29(9):1630-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3412873/