The first and most important thing that many people forget when it comes to the emergency room is simply that it is meant for emergencies. If you can’t breathe, you have unbearable chest pain, or you’re bleeding profusely for any reason, you should go to the emergency room – in fact, if you go anywhere else with emergency symptoms, they will probably put you in an ambulance and send you there immediately. But if your condition is not life-threatening, you will save yourself a lot of time and money by going to an urgent care facility, where they treat a long list of ailments – many of them still very urgent, but some not so urgent. These are some of the most common conditions that an urgent care can help you with.
Emergency room care is for the more serious wounds, but urgent care treats puncture wounds and injuries caused by glass, nails, and other foreign bodies that can cause infection. They also treat wounds that have become infected and are slow to heal or have developed an abscess. A doctor at an urgent care will properly pack your wound, teach you how to keep it clean, and treat it with antibiotics if needed.
2. Non-emergency Heart Problems
If you are suffering from immediate signs of a heart attack or stroke such as extreme chest pain, trouble breathing, or loss of consciousness, that constitutes an emergency. But many people experience symptoms that could be associated with heart disease and don’t know exactly how serious they are. This is when a trip to the urgent care can help you diagnose palpitations, minor pains, and issues with hypertension, so that you know if further treatment is necessary.
3. Health Issues with your Kids
Babies and children have weaker immune systems than adults, so you when your child has a bad cough or rash, or when they suffer from other symptoms that could be indicative of a more serious illness, like vomiting or fever, urgent care is where you take them to get diagnosed. Urgent care can also treat croup or pertussis in babies. It can even treat them after they’ve swallowed something they shouldn’t. Young children are among the most frequent urgent care patients because their parents don’t always want to pay high copays to see their pediatrician.
4. Pregnancy and Sex Issues
Urgent care also offers gynecological services for pregnant women, diagnosing bleeding and any abnormalities to see if hospital care is needed. They can also treat women for pelvic issues and vaginitis, and they can perform pregnancy tests. Both men and women can get tested for sexually transmitted diseases at an urgent care, as well as speak to a doctor about plans for treatment.
5. Fractures, Sprains, and Breaks
On a daily basis, urgent cares treat problems with bones and muscles. Strains, sprains, and dislocations can be x-rayed and treated quickly by a doctor. Urgent care is also suggested for broken bones, unless accompanied by serious wounds. An emergency room won’t consider that kind of injury life-threatening, so you might wait hours to see a doctor and end up paying more.
When you go to the emergency room, you have to wait until the most serious cases are treated first, so if your illness or injury is not something you could die from, you could end up spending hours waiting to see a doctor. It can also cause a dispute with your health care insurance – if they don’t consider it a true emergency, they can refuse to pay. There are lots of reasons why urgent care is usually the better choice. It offers a wide spectrum of treatment that is easier and more affordable at the same time.