Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room

Medical surprises can pop up under just about any circumstances. A fun-filled sports game turns into a frenzy to get to the ER with a would-be fracture. Life happens. But how do you know whether your injury needs attention at urgent care or an emergency room?

A quick history lesson

Urgent cares are very common in most cities now. Some are affiliated with hospital systems and others are independently owned. Today urgent cares are ready to handle a wide array of medical urgencies. Urgent cares began gaining visibility and prominence as a great way to transition people between either primary care providers, as in the case of a recent move to town, or in between those actual provider visits. They started by giving fairly routine treatments such as antibiotics. But as the years have gone by, we’ve all seen that the urgent care environment has grown into providing lab work, x-rays, and even immunizations in some cases.

A good rule of thumb: if your medical need is one that you would feel comfortable addressing with your primary care provider, then it can be addressed at your urgent care.

Many conditions fall into the above category and can be handled very adequately at urgent care. Urgent care visits are by far much quicker than ER visits and can be much less costly and get you back on your way.

Here are a few reasons you might visit your local urgent care:

  •    Cold and/or flu-like symptoms
  •    Sprains
  •    Mild exacerbations (flare-ups) of some chronic conditions such as COPD or asthma
  •    Skin rashes such as suspected poison ivy/oak
  •    Nonsevere stomach ache
  •    Mild headache

The emergency room

Emergency rooms are equipped to handle even the most complex medical needs. Below are some medical emergencies that lead people to the ER every day. Make a note of these because they are not the circumstances for an urgent care visit. These need more intense triage and treatment. Many of the below can signal a heart attack or stroke and seconds count for prompt, appropriate medical treatment.

5 symptoms that can be signs of a heart attack or stroke

  •    Chest pain
  •    Loss of vision or sudden blurred vision
  •    Altered mental status or sudden confusion
  •    Slurred speech
  •    Sudden weakness or paralysis especially on one side of the body

10 more reasons you might visit an ER

  •    Fever over 104
  •    Newborn with a fever of any temperature (babies less than 3 months old that have a temperature of 100.4 need immediate attention)
  •    Open wounds
  •    Broken bones
  •    Sudden, severe headache
  •    Sudden testicular pain
  •    Head injury
  •    Eye injury
  •    Frequent vomiting and diarrhea
  •    Seizures
  •    Severe allergic reaction, as to a food allergy
  •    Severe, unexplained swelling especially to the extremities

Knowing where to go when you’re in pain can help to keep the panic down. Just remember, if you’d feel okay getting to your primary care doctor with it…it’s urgent care time.  One Source Healthcare hopes to be your urgent care of choice to meet your urgent care needs.

At OneSource Healthcare, we understand how vital it is to be seen by an urgent care provider when you aren’t well. That is why we offer low-cost, affordable urgent care for those occasional urgent care medical needs that simply cannot wait. Visit us online at www.onesource-healthcare.com or give us a call today at 229-439-1950 or 229-246-6417.