Urgent care facilities are now being built more often in different neighborhoods around the country. Because you might be used to going to the emergency room when you need urgent medical attention, you may not understand when to do that or visit an urgent care location. Ask these questions; you'll be able to act appropriately.
Do You Suspect You Know the Problem?
If you regularly get earaches or urinary tract infections and suspect that's what the current problem is, an urgent care facility should be your destination. The medical staff there can diagnose you and prescribe any needed medication.
Have You Broken a Bone?
Suspecting that you've broken one of your bones can be frightening. Your first thought could be that you have to visit the ER to have it x-rayed and set. Luckily, urgent care centers have the capability to do these tasks. In addition, because the wait times at urgent care facilities can be shorter than many emergency rooms, you might be able to have your bone set right away.
Do You Have a Serious Condition or Life-Threatening Injuries?
If you suffer with a more serious chronic illness asthma or diabetes that can lead to serious consequences or have an active life-threatening injury, the ER is the best place to be. You have the option of transitioning to a room in the hospital or can be transported to another facility if necessary.
What Time is It?
Unlike emergency rooms, urgent care centers are not always open around the clock. If you're unsure of the urgent care facility's hours and have to be seen, just head over to the ER. You might call an urgent care center before leaving just to be sure.
Do You Have a Vaccination Deadline?
If your teenager tells you Saturday night that they need a particular vaccination for college by Monday morning or you're going out of town unexpectedly and need your own vaccination, a doctor's office visit may not be a possibility. Because it is not an emergency, the ER is not the proper place to go either. Luckily, the closest urgent care center can provide those vaccinations and any supporting documentation by your deadline.
Knowing whether to visit local urgent care facilities or the ER is a skill that's useful to everyone. With these questions you can go to a suitable location. You might want to contact local urgent care centers to ask for a list of the services they offer so you can make more informed decisions when you need care.