when to use urgent care or emergency room

Urgent Care and the Emergency Room: What’s the Difference?

By | Urgent Care | No Comments

When to Visit Urgent Care vs. an Emergency Room

A disaster strikes and you or someone you’re with needs medical attention immediately. What do you do? For most people, their first thought is to visit the nearest Emergency Room. However, in many cases, going to your local urgent care is just as effective and oftentimes quicker and more affordable. You should know the differences between these two centers before an accident occurs so you can make an informed decision when the time comes.

Simply put, emergency rooms (ERs) can handle trauma, x-rays, surgical procedures, and other life-threatening situations. Urgent care is equipped to handle non-life threatening situations.

When to Go to Urgent Care

Studies show that seventy percent of emergency room visits can be handled in an urgent care setting. Most urgent care centers are open late and on weekends and accept walk-in patients with no appointment necessary. They are staffed with high-quality professionals who have access to x-ray and on-site lab testing. Urgent cares offer an affordable, efficient and convenient alternative to the emergency room and can help treat medical conditions quickly, given the situation is not life-threatening. If you are in a life-threatening situation and require immediate medical attention, dial 9-1-1 immediately.

You should visit an urgent care center if you experience any of the following:

  • Minor sprains, strains and fractures
  • Neck and back pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Blood work or x-rays
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Fever
  • Burns, cuts and lacerations
  • Travel or flu vaccinations
  • Rashes and allergic reactions
  • Cold or flu symptoms

When You Need an ER

ER visits are necessary when a patient is suffering from a life- or limb-threatening medical condition. Common signs that you need to visit an ER include:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stroke
  • Head trauma
  • Severe bleeding
  • Loss of vision
  • Major car accident

For your health concerns and medical needs, visit Sand Canyon Urgent Care. We welcome walk-in patients at our Irvine and Laguna Hills locations. Call us at (949) 536-7892 or visit us here to get started!