Deciding Between Urgent Care And The Emergency Room

Health & Medical Blog

Getting sick can be very inconvenient, especially when an appointment with your regular doctor is not a possibility. This is often an issue during nights and weekends when most primary physicians are not available. Whether it's an illness that pops up after office hours or you are unable to get an appointment, urgent care or a visit to the emergency room are both options. However, they are not the same thing. Some situations may be better suited to urgent care while others may require emergency attention. Here are a few tips for deciding between urgent care and the emergency room: 

Severity Of Symptoms

The severity of the symptoms is the first thing to consider when deciding between going to urgent care or the emergency room. Some symptoms that require an emergency room visit include chest pain, head injuries, difficulty breathing, broken bones, serious burns, cuts that require stitches, and more. Less severe symptoms such as mild fevers, ear pain, minor traumas, and mild cold symptoms are best taken care of at an urgent care center. It's also important to remember that patients in the emergency room are seen in order of severity of their symptoms. Which means if you have less severe symptoms, an emergency room visit can take longer than you may expect. 

Onset Of Symptoms

When it comes to the symptoms being experienced, it can difficult to determine whether or not they are serious enough to warrant an emergency room trip. If the onset of the symptoms is very quick, emergency attention may be needed. Fast onset of symptoms can sometimes indicate that there is a severe health problem. Symptoms that develop gradually are less likely to require emergency care and can often be treated at an urgent care facility. If it's something that would normally necessitate an appointment a primary care physician, a visit to urgent care will usually suffice. 


Another thing to consider when deciding between an emergency room visit and a visit to emergency care is the cost. A trip the emergency room tends to be more expensive than a trip to an urgent care center. An urgent care visit costs around $120 on average while an emergency room visit costs $400. Unless the symptoms necessitate a visit to the emergency room, in most cases a trip to urgent care is far more cost-effective.

Deciding between going to the emergency room and an urgent care center can be difficult. In general, if the symptoms are severe, a trip to the emergency room is going to be the best option. Symptoms that show up and worsen quickly may also require emergency room care. However, if the symptoms are not severe or life-threatening, a trip to an urgent care center is going to less expensive. 


19 November 2017

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