Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Room: How To Choose?

All too often, illness or injury strikes without warning: you wake up in the middle of the night with severe stomach pain. Your child trips over and falls and gets a swollen ankle. Or perhaps your baby wakes up with a high fever.

In these circumstances, it is common to find yourself unsure about where to seek medical treatment, particularly if the symptoms appear serious and your regular doctor’s office is closed.

Knowing the difference between an urgent care facility, and a hospital emergency room can be quite helpful, even though it’s not always easy to decide where you should go, especially if you are in the middle of a medical emergency.

What Is An Emergency Room?

Going to an emergency room may seem like the ideal option when you have a health issue that cannot wait for days or weeks and need the immediate attention of a primary care doctor.

Emergency rooms are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to care for serious, life-threatening medical conditions. An emergency room (ER) is a facility that houses both walk-in patients and those brought in by ambulance.

When there is a life-threatening condition and an imminent risk of death, it is best to go to the emergency room. As part of hospitals, emergency rooms are staffed with medical professionals who can diagnose and treat life-threatening diseases, including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and specialists. If you don’t have an illness that is life-threatening, there is usually a considerable waiting time to be seen in an ER. A triage system is in place to guarantee that the most seriously injured patients come first.

What Is An Urgent Care Facility?

When you are unwell or injured, you might not think of going to an urgent care facility, yet these facilities are staffed with medical professionals and stay open longer than primary care facilities. Patients can walk into urgent care facilities, which are independent of hospitals.

While urgent care facilities don’t always stay open around the clock as emergency rooms do, they frequently stay open longer than your typical doctor’s office.

The diagnostic tools available at urgent care facilities can identify less serious diseases and wounds. The waiting time is usually about an hour or less, far shorter than what you might encounter at an ER.

When To Go Into An ER?

The best place to go in an emergency is a hospital emergency department. Go right away to the emergency room if your condition is life-threatening. These situations include-

  • Serious head injuries
  • Open wound fractures
  • Heavy or uncontrolled bleeding
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Sudden body numbness or weakness, lack of coordination, or other indications of a stroke
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Psychosis
  • Sudden changes in vision
  • Sudden dizziness or disorientation
  • Feeling faint or dizzy suddenly or continuously
  • Coughing or vomiting up blood
  • A fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Any fever in infants less than two months
  • Severe burns
  • Asthma attacks
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding similar to menstruation or worse, excruciating and ongoing stomach pain or cramping, fever or chills, or rapid changes in vision accompanied by excruciating headaches during pregnancy
  • Serious allergic responses
  • Persistent diarrhea or vomiting
  • Inhaled smoke or toxic fumes.

When To Visit A Urgent Care Facility?

Urgent care is not the same as emergency care. A number of medical issues that require immediate attention but are not actual emergencies can be handled at urgent care facilities, which are same-day clinics. There are some great urgent care in Arlington, OH that works round the clock all throughout the week.

An urgent care facility can assess and treat the following symptoms-

  • Fever without a rash
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mild flu-like symptoms
  • A sprain or a strain
  • Small wounds that can need stitches.