When should you go to the emergency room versus your urgent care doctor?

When should you go to the emergency room versus your urgent care doctor?

Well all know that the costs of going to the emergency room can add up quickly and turn out to be extremely expensive. So when should we utilize the emergency room and when should we opt for our urgent care doctor?

Emergency care and urgent care are not synonymous in any way. If you or the injured person has potential to be permanently impaired or if there is possible risk of death, go to the emergency room immediately. In these types of situations, your urgent care doctor will not be able to help.

Examples of emergencies are:

  • Poisoning
  • Compound fracture
  • Severe burns
  • Pregnancy-related issues
  • Heavy, uncontrollable bleeding

When is urgent care the better option? Issues that require urgent care are problems are not considered emergencies but they must be resolved within about 24 hours to prevent the future need for emergency care.

Examples of urgent care issues are:

  • Fever or flu
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Minor broken bones (ex. Fingers)
  • Skin rashes or infections

Urgent care providers are there to help your minor issue before it becomes an emergency. Oftentimes, issues considered to be urgent care worthy that are left untreated can turn into something much more serious. So definitely see your doctor for these types of problems.

If you experience any issues that are considered to be urgent care issues, it is really much more beneficial for you to see an urgent care doctor. The emergency room would be equipped to care for your issue, however, urgent care issues are non-emergencies. Therefor, you will most likely end up waiting in the waiting room for a very long time. Emergencies will always be treated first.

So, it is your best interest to be able to distinguish the difference between an emergency issue and an urgent care issue. And make sure you are prepared with an urgent care provider as well!

If you have any concerns or questions about minor emergencies, give us a call and we can discuss it!

General non-confidential inquiries can be made below. If this is an emergency, call 911.


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