When to Choose Urgent Care Service over the Emergency Room

Injuries, illnesses, and medical emergencies usually pop up in life during the most unexpected moments. However, when you experience a painful injury or a debilitating illness, it is important to understand how to evaluate using either urgent care services or the emergency room (ER).

An urgent care service can provide several treatments for sudden injuries and illnesses that usually cost less, and are faster, than the emergency room. Many people sometimes forgo considering urgent care and develop a habit of using the ER for most medical situations.

Conversely, people may confuse the term “urgent care” with “emergency care” and try to visit an urgent care center when they require life-saving treatments only an emergency room can provide.

Deciding when to use the emergency room is relatively simple and requires a simple provide a convenient rule of thumb below to explain when you should use either urgent care services or the emergency room for unexpected medical events.

Use Urgent Care when your illness or injury is not life-threatening

Urgent care services are great at providing fast and near-immediate treatments for multiple minor injuries. Most centers offer a walk-in clinic where patients can receive treatment for shorter wait times, lower out-of-pocket costs, and faster follow-up care than emergency rooms.

The types of injuries that you should go to an urgent care center to treat include minor cuts and lacerations, bone breaks and sprains, bruises, seasonal allergies, skin irritations, and illnesses such as the flu. Urgent care covers the majority of minor services that occur throughout a person’s life. Urgent care centers also perform preventive care and treatment after experiencing illnesses and injuries. Patients can come back to receive follow-up treatment and evaluate the severity of a previous ailment. Find your nearest urgent care center and take advantage of the low cost and fast treatments offered via walk-in clinic.

Go to an Emergency Room if you are experiencing a critical life-threatening injury

Injuries and illnesses that put your life in immediate danger require an ER without any exception. ERs are equipped with capabilities such as life-saving surgery and intense trauma treatment to help save the lives of patients ASAP. Visit the emergency room if you are experiencing any of the following conditions:

  • Squeezing chest pain with shortness of breath
  • A gunshot wound or a laceration that won’t stop bleeding
  • Choking, asphyxiation, or severe difficulty breathing
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Bone breaks that puncture the skin
  • Poisoning or ingestion of a toxic chemical
  • Severe burns including 3rd and 4th-degree burns
  • Inability to move or sudden seizures

Keep these tips in mind to use both urgent care and ER services as efficiently and effectively as possible. Responsible healthcare utilization can save you time, put more money back in your wallet, and preserve your overall health. If you need urgent care services, don’t hesitate to call us at 703-942-5331 or just walk right in. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!

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