If you’re suffering from a health-related condition, should you visit the urgent care or head to the emergency room?
Both “urgent” and “emergency” sound serious, so it’s no wonder why you might be unsure which one you should go to. Don’t choose one over the other for the wrong reasons — read on to learn which conditions require an ER visit and for which you can seek urgent care.
Definitely go to ER for life-threatening issues
The emergency room or emergency department deals with life-threatening ailments that need immediate attention. Some examples of when you should seek emergency care include:
- Chest pain or symptoms of stroke
- Animal bites
- Serious bone breaks
- Serious burns or cuts
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Serious injury to your head, neck, or back/spine
- Uncontained bleeding
- High fever in infants
When to visit urgent care
You should go to urgent care if you need help within 24 hours but aren’t experiencing a medical emergency. At Life Point Medical, we offer urgent care for Clayton, Georgia, and the surrounding area.
Going to the ER department when you don’t need to can take valuable time and resources from patients who do need emergency care. At least 30% of all ER visits in the United States are non-emergencies.
Based on an American College of Emergency Physicians poll, emergency physicians who were surveyed noted that of their ER patients who could have been safely treated at an urgent care office:
- 47% wrongly thought that the ER provides better care
- 31% thought their symptoms indicated a medical emergency
- 19% were unfamiliar with urgent care
Neither form of medical care is better than the other. They’re designed for different circumstances.
Here are some of the most common reasons when you should visit urgent care.
1. Flu, cold, sore throat, cough, fever
Doctors’ offices are busy during cold and flu season, but when you’re suffering, you want treatment right away. The urgent care office is the ideal place to visit. At Life Point Medical, we are able to conduct tests to determine the cause of your symptoms and prescribe the necessary treatment.
If you are debating where to seek medical attention for your fever, consider how high your temperature is, how long the fever has persisted, and your other symptoms.
2. Persistent eye discomfort
The eye is a sensitive organ directly exposed to the environment, so if you experience any blurred vision, discharge, itchiness, teariness, or redness, head to urgent care. Some eye infections like pink eye are very contagious, so it’s crucial to get treatment as early as possible.
3. Sprains and strains
At Life Point Medical, we’re able to order diagnostics to help determine the severity and type of your injury and prescribe any necessary anti-inflammatories or joint support.
4. Moderate breathing difficulties
If you can’t breath, go to the emergency room, but an urgent care facility can help with moderate breathing difficulties — from respiratory infections to allergies and asthma.
5. Cuts that don’t involve much blood but might need stitches
If your bleeding is contained, we can clean, bandage, and stitch up your injury to minimize the risk of infection and reduce scarring.
6. Nausea, digestive issues
There are a host of ailments that can cause nausea, bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea. An urgent care facility can order diagnostic and lab tests to determine the cause of your symptoms and prescribe the right medication.
7. Rashes or itchiness
Urgent care offices have fast-acting or stronger medication to handle and alleviate severe allergic reactions to pollutants, plants, bug bites, or to certain foods.
8. Ear pain or discomfort
Ear injuries or infections can ruin your day, night, and week. Don’t hesitate to visit our urgent care for any ear discomfort. If you have an ear infection, we can prescribe antibiotic ear drops.
9. Severe muscle or joint aches
If nagging aches and pains are keeping you down, we can help. It’s important to get treatment for these injuries early to prevent long-lasting damage or overcompensation in other areas of your body.
10. You lack health insurance or are underinsured
If you have a life-threatening condition, definitely go to the ER, but in nearly all other scenarios, visiting urgent care costs a fraction of what you would pay if you went to the ER
Looking for urgent care?
If you’re in the Clayton, Georgia, area and in need of a doctor today, Life Point Medical’s urgent care office can be there for you. We can handle a variety of health ailments, whether you caught a seasonal cold, sprained your ankle hiking in Black Rock Mountain State Park, or have a stubborn fever.
Walk in or call us for a same-day appointment. For non-urgent conditions, you can also book an appointment online through this website.