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When to Visit Urgent Care vs. The ER

Emergency RoomThis is a common concern that people have. Most people don’t realize what symptoms and problems can be treated at an urgent care, and whether their symptoms warrant going to the ER. It’s been reported that the cost is $47 billion each year for people who went to the ER but didn’t need to. The emergency room is only there for life-threatening and serious medical issues that require immediate attention, while most health issues can be addressed by your nearest urgent care. Here’s how to know where to go for medical attention.
Your Symptoms are Mild
Especially since we’re living in the time of Covid-19, we have to be particularly careful about what symptoms we are dealing with and whether we should go to a hospital or urgent care or simply treat symptoms on our own at home. If you are dealing with minor symptoms such as a mild fever, body aches, chills, or other symptoms of a cold, flu, or possible Covid-19 infection, it’s best to take over-the-counter ibuprofen to ease pain and minor fevers and to rest as much as possible. If symptoms don’t improve within a couple of days, you should call your primary doctor.
You Need More Immediate Care
Maybe you are dealing with vomiting, diarrhea, or other issues that aren’t responding to home care or seem to be getting worse. If your symptoms are more urgent but not life-threatening, then a trip to urgent care may be the best bet. Most urgent care clinics offer longer office hours as well as availability on the weekend, making it easier to seek care from an urgent care facility when issues arise outside your doctor’s regular office hours.
Most urgent cares can even set bones, suture small areas, and treat burns and other injuries. They will also typically have imaging tests and lab capabilities to be able to perform blood work, urinalysis, and other diagnostics tools. Remember that an urgent care will send you to the ER if they suspect that your condition is serious enough.
You Are Dealing with Serious Issues
From a concussion and severe abdominal pain to chest pain or trouble breathing, these are issues that shouldn’t be ignored. These are potentially life-threatening situations and in these cases, it’s important to call 911 or head to your nearest ER. Your ER will be able to provide the most comprehensive and swift care for true medical emergencies. You can also seek ER treatment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
It’s important that you have a primary doctor that you can turn to for treatment and care; however, we also know that sometimes urgent health issues arise and you need to seek medical attention elsewhere. If you are dealing with a life-threatening or serious health problem, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

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