It's an unfortunate fact of life that becoming injured or ill rarely happens according to your doctor's schedule of office hours. If medical attention is required when it is not possible to reach a primary care physician, many people assume that going to the emergency room is the automatic choice.
But, a large percentage of the most common illnesses and accidents may not need the type of care that an emergency room is equipped to provide. Instead, treatment at an urgent care facility will provide proper care. As a bonus, urgent care treatment typically costs only a fraction of the average emergency room fee.
It is important to note that urgent care is not appropriate for every medical care need. If you have become ill or injured and are wondering which treatment option you should use, these guidelines will help you make the right choice.
Cuts, Burns, and Wounds
Cuts, burns, and wounds can usually be treated just fine at an urgent care facility. The medical care team will be able to disinfect, bandage, or use stitches if needed, as well as provide a prescription for oral antibiotics if there is a risk of infection.
However, if a cut or wound has damaged muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bones, or if it is bleeding profusely, going to the emergency room or calling for an ambulance is the best choice. Likewise, burns that are serious, such as those that cover a large area or those that are worse than first degree, may need the advanced medical care available at the emergency room.
Gastric issues, such as nausea and diarrhea associated with viruses or minor food poisoning, are usually treatable at an urgent care facility.
If the symptoms have persisted for more than a few hours, or if the patient is showing signs of dehydration, delirium, high fever, or pain beyond a minor level, an emergency room is probably more appropriate to rule out appendicitis or other serious health conditions.
Some symptoms should always be treated as an emergency, including :
When symptoms are non-life threatening and will not require surgical repair or extensive treatment, consider going to a local urgent care facility instead of the emergency room.
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