Injuries, illness, and other medical ailments happen unexpectedly. When you experience a medical event you should start asking yourself “Is this an urgent medical situation or a medical emergency? Understanding the difference between urgent care or an emergency room (ER) hastens your treatment, saves money, and ensures your overall health is well-protected.

An urgent care center can save you money since most urgent care centers offer lower rates than emergency rooms for similar services. In addition, most urgent care centers offer access for walk-in patients so no appointments are necessary to receive care.

However, you may need an ER if you injury puts you in critical condition that requires life-saving treatment offered at a hospital or similar facility.

So how can you tell when your injury requires urgent care or emergency care?

Go to an urgent care center for immediate and minor injuries

Any time you experience a minor injury, and need fast treatment, go to an urgent care center. But patients need to understand that a lot of injuries that seem like an emergency are actually minor. For example, most broken bones or sprains can be treated at an urgent care center. A list of injuries and illnesses treatable at an urgent care center include:

  • Bone breaks, sprains, and bruises
  • Cuts, lacerations, and open wounds
  • Common cold, influenza, and viral infections
  • Headaches, fever, and seasonal allergy symptoms
  • Seasonal illnesses
  • Sunburn and other skin irritations

Minor injuries can be very painful but easily treatable an at urgent care center. Understanding how minor injuries compare to medical emergencies can help evaluate the severity of your condition..

Always use an ER for critical medical emergencies

Medical emergencies are stressful, terrifying, and life-threatening. If you experience a medical emergency, do not hesitate when picking a medical facility for treatment. You must go to the ER.

An ER is equipped with life-saving treatments, technology, and personnel to address any medical emergency you have. A list of medical emergencies that require ER treatment include:

  • A gunshot or a wound that won’t stop bleeding
  • Ingestion of poisonous chemicals
  • A bone break that penetrates the skin
  • Intense asphyxiation, choking, or inability to breathe
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A stroke, heart attack, or another major cardiovascular complication

If you believe that your medical condition qualifies as an emergency, then make sure you seek out your nearest ER.

For any other minor injuries and ailments, go to an urgent care center for fast, affordable, and convenient treatment!