How to Determine If You Need Urgent Care, the ER, or Your Family Doctor
With health insurance premiums continuing to skyrocket, many people find themselves unable to afford coverage for themselves and their families. While this works fine when everyone is healthy, it can become incredibly stressful when you or a family member becomes ill.
The problem is worsened when families attempt to avoid the cost of seeing their primary care physician by trying home remedies. If the illness or injury needs immediate treatment, they may also have a problem if their physician's schedule is too crowded to fit them in. These problems send many uninsured or under-insured people to urgent cares every day.
What medical conditions or issues are suitable for urgent care?
Urgent care centers are designed to provide basic, easily accessible health care for non-life threatening conditions. These centers are typically located in convenient areas, such as strip malls and shopping centers, and provide care when many doctor's practices are closed, such as during the evening and on the weekend.
These facilities typically accept some types of medical insurance, cash, and credit or debit cards and expect payment at the time of service. Medical conditions that can be treated at an urgent care facility include:
- Minor injuries, such as cuts, bruises, lacerations, and sprains
- Treatment for colds, ear infections, flu, or digestive problems, like nausea and diarrhea
- Child care for fevers, colds, ear infections, and minor health issues
- Employment physicals, drug testing, and pregnancy testing
Since no appointment is necessary, patients are usually seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
What medical problems are not able to be treated at an urgent care facility?
Some medical symptoms and issues cannot be treated at an urgent care facility. If they are an emergency, the emergency room should always be the first choice. Examples of medical symptoms that cannot be treated in urgent care facilities include:
- Potential symptoms of a coronary event, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or suspected heart attack or stroke
- Any injury or condition that is considered to be a life-threatening event
- Drug overdose or poisoning
- Accidental amputations or severe wounds and lacerations that will require surgical intervention
- Burns that are large or serious enough to be life-threatening, or those that require debridement, surgical treatment, or burn center treatment
Your local urgent care center can be instrumental in helping you maintain well-rounded health care for your family at an affordable cost. To learn more about urgent care and how to use it most effectively, take time to call or discuss your situation with their patient care team today.