ER or Urgent Care?
Where to go when I am sick or hurt?
It’s important to understand when you should go to an urgent care center. Urgent Care facilities are popping up everywhere it seems. So, when are these the best option for care? These facilities are not appropriate for life threatening illnesses or injuries. It is important to note, if your injury or illness is on the list of most commonly treated symptoms, but is determined to be severe enough you may need be transported to a local emergency room. A trained medical professional will make that decision.
These are the most appropriate reasons to go to an Urgent Care:
- Strep throat. Strep throat is highly contagious. An urgent care clinic can usually test, diagnose, and treat the infection immediately.
- Minor sprains and breaks. Most urgent care clinics have X-ray on site. If you suffer a sports injury or any type of serious fall, ice and rest the injured area as you head to an urgent care center.
- Flu shots and cold treatment. Urgent care centers will treat flu and cold symptoms. There are medications that can reduce the duration and impact of flu, and they work best if taken in the first two days of infection.
- Cuts and minor wounds. Stitches for minor cuts can easily be handled by an urgent care clinic. They can also provide tetanus shots and prescribe antibiotics, if needed.
- Tick bites. A tick bite is no minor bug bite. These can be dangerous are best treated with early detection for potential Lyme disease.
In addition to injuries, people go to urgent care facilities to be treated for “feeling sick”. These illnesses usually found to be not life-threatening. They can be treated , most commonly, with antibiotics or other specific medications. Some of the most common illnesses that are treated in an urgent care facility include: Urinary tract infections, Yeast infections, Pink eye, Mono, Bronchitis, Colds/Flu, Ear Infection.
Sometimes, you may not know exactly what is wrong. In these cases an urgent care facility is a reliable starting point. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: Swollen glands, Rash, Sore throat, Diarrhea, Headaches or any unexplained pain or swelling, these can usually be treated as outpatient. Realize, if it is determined you do not belong in an urgent care, a trained professional will make sure that you are moved to the appropriate facility, by ambulance if necessary. They will then notify the facility that you are on your way. This allows the receiving facility to be prepared and saves time and in some cases lives.
Many Urgent cares now take online booking and will let you know how long a wait might be. So, think before you rush into an emergency room and get the bottom of the triage totem pole. Be educated about what kind of facilities are around you, so when you are in need of making that big decision you are ready.