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Urgent Care and Emergency Room Visits: When to Go

Urgent Care and Emergency Room Visits: When to Go

The Emergency Center and Urgent Care

While all of us pray that we never have a reason to visit the Emergency Center or Urgent Care, we are all grateful that they exist. Having urgent care facilities and emergency rooms makes for convenient care in the case of a serious injury or another medical issue. Children’s urgent care is especially important as is after-hours medical care. Illness and accidents do not discriminate by age or time of day.

Because LegacyER is both an Urgent Care and an Emergency Room, we often get asked when it is appropriate to come in to get checked out. Is chest pain enough of a reason? What about breathing difficulties? We have 24-hour emergency care for a reason – because we want to save lives day and night and provide care to those who need it. Though the urgent care market is highly fragmented, with most health care operators owning less than 3 centers, all urgent care and emergency centers have the same goal: to keep people healthy and save lives.
The emergency room and urgent care serve two very different purposes. Here are things to consider when you are in a situation that might warrant a visit to either:

Urgent Care Visits:

Urgent care visits are for medical situations that aren’t life-threatening but require immediate attention. Although when a medical issue arises, it can be difficult to know at the moment if it is something that simply requires urgent care or is an actual emergency.

These are some examples of situations that would warrant an Urgent Care visit:

Accidents or Falls: This is especially true for the elderly. If you have an accident or serious fall and think you may have broken or fractured a bone, a visit to urgent care is prudent.

Broken Bones: Broken bones in general warrant a visit to urgent care, as the sooner the bone, is set and cast, the better it will heal. Broken bones commonly occur in sporting events and during outdoor recreational activities. The three most common signs of a broken bone are swelling, pain, and deformity.

Severe Abdominal Pain: While a small stomach ache is nothing to be worried about, you should still carefully monitor your pain levels. If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, it is a good idea to visit an urgent care facility. Severe abdominal pain can be a symptom of many things including dangerous food poisoning, ulcers, and other serious conditions.

Deep Cuts: If you work with knives or other sharp tools, an accident might occur and you find yourself with a deep cut. Sometimes deep cuts bleed profusely, other times there is a little bleeding. Even with a cut that isn’t bleeding too much (in the moment), if it is deep and looks serious, head to an urgent care center to get stitches and ensure no further damage occurs.

High Fever: Having a low fever when you are ill isn’t that dangerous and is actually a sign that your body is working to fight off an infection. However, if you have a high fever, it is time to consider urgent care. A high fever in adults is classified as being over 105 degrees OR over 103 degrees for longer than 48 hours. High fevers can be very dangerous and require immediate medical attention.

Now, what about the Emergency Center?

Emergency Center Visits

Typically, an emergency center visit is going to deal with much more serious, potentially life-threatening, medical situations. If you are able, always call 911 first so that medical help can be ready to receive you.

Here are some reasons you should head to the emergency center:

  • Extreme difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting and dizziness
  • Sudden numbness
  • Bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • Fever in children under 3 months
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Blood in urine or diarrhea
  • Sudden inability to speak, see, walk, or move

If you or someone around you experience any problems like the ones above, it is important to immediately call 911 and get to an emergency center. These types of situations can be fatal and are sometimes determined in a matter of minutes — give LegacyER a call today to learn more about what type of medical attention you need.