What is Urgent Care and When Should You Use It?

 

Let's start with the basics: What is Urgent care? Simply put, urgent care is kind of a mash-up of a regular doctor's office and the ER.  

 

What's the difference between the emergency room (ER) and an Urgent Care center?  Well, life-threatening emergencies, such as a heart attack or serious head injury, require a visit to the ER. Just about anything else can be treated in Urgent Care. 

What is Considered an Emergency?

 

In general, an emergency condition is one that can permanently impair or endanger your life. Dial 911 immediately for any medical problem that appears life-threatening. Some examples of conditions that need emergency medical care include:

 

-Compound fracture, which involves a bone protruding through the skin

-Convulsions, seizures, or loss of consciousness

-Deep knife wounds or gunshot wounds

-Fever in a newborn less than 3 months old

-Heavy, uncontrollable bleeding

-Moderate to severe burns

-Poisoning

-Pregnancy-related problems

-Serious head, neck, or back injury

-Severe abdominal pain

-Severe chest pain or difficulty breathing

-Heart attack symptoms, such as chest pain that lasts longer than two minutes

-Stroke symptoms, such as vision loss, sudden numbness, weakness, slurred speech, or confusion

-Suicidal or homicidal feelings

 

 

What is Considered an Urgent Medical Condition?

 

Urgent medical conditions are ones that are not considered emergencies but still require care within 24 hours. Some examples include:

 

-Accidents and falls

-Cuts that don’t involve much blood but might need stitches

-Breathing difficulties, such as mild to moderate asthma

-Diagnostic services, including X-rays and laboratory tests

-Eye irritation and redness

-Fever or flu

-Minor broken bones and fracture

-Moderate back problems

-Sore throat or cough

-Skin rashes and infections

-Sprains and strains

-Urinary tract infections

-Vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration

 

Dial 911 immediately for any medical problem that appears to be life-threatening.

 

Remember, ER visits are necessary for true emergencies, such as chest pain and severe injuries. Minor injuries and illnesses can be treated in the office. If a greater level of care is needed, our staff will direct patients to the proper healthcare provider, or, if it is a true emergency, we will transfer patients directly to a hospital emergency room for further treatment.

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* Flu shots are covered without any co-pay for most insurances and for those patients will be free. There are a few exceptions that will require a charge,  Aetna does not cover flu shots, and patients must have insurance. Please inquire with our office. 

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