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Urgent Care Vs. ER: Where Should You Go?

February 22, 2017
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America’s healthcare system is improving every day. With all these changes, it can be difficult to decide how to best treat any injuries or illnesses that may affect you. Urgent Care, the ER, and your doctor’s office all offer treatment options — which one should you go to for the best care? It depends on your affliction.

For most minor injuries, an urgent care center is perfectly capable of providing you with fast and affordable treatment. This includes cold and flu symptoms, cough, sore throat, fevers, stomach pain, vomiting, cuts and scrapes, and more.

Urgent care walk in clinics have a wide scope of support. In fact, around two-thirds of urgent care centers employ a mix of physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants. Additionally, about 65% of centers have at least one physician on-site at all times. But still, there are some injuries and afflictions that an urgent care center isn’t equipped for, in which case it must be treated at the hospital. This is mostly the case for time sensitive injuries such as allergic reactions, broken bones, deep wounds, head injuries, continuous bleeding, chest pain, and more.

As with most things in life, there can be some gray area when it comes to scopes of support. Some urgent care centers are more equipped than others and can easily handle a broken bone. This is dependent on not only the equipment available, but the level of expertise of the staff as well. You are more likely to be able to receive treatment for a broken bone at an urgent care walk in clinic if there is a qualified physician onsite. Regardless, if you’re unsure of where to go, it’s always a good idea to call an urgent care center first if the issue isn’t extremely time sensitive.

Your doctor’s office can also help in certain situations, but availability is usually slim, and they may end up referring you to an urgent care center or emergency room anyway. With the time and money you’ll spend at your doctor’s office, you’re better off going to an urgent care center in most situations.

When you have an illness or affliction that needs attention, it’s important to know your options. Urgent care center hours allow for a lot of freedom, but the emergency room is usually better for time sensitive issues such as allergic reactions. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re still unsure of where to get the best treatment, don’t hesitate to contact your local urgent care walk in clinic to determine their specific scope of support.