When someone gets ill, suffers an injury, or has a sudden medical condition such as chest pain, it is essential that a nearby, responsible adult knows how to get that victim to the correct level of care nearby. Urgent care centers, emergency care centers, and more can get a patient back on track to good health, and often, this can save a life. Americans young and old alike sometimes need professional medical help, but in fact, urgent and emergency care are two different things. A 24 hour emergency care clinic is not interchangeable with a walk in clinic, after all. A person may wonder: “should I go to urgent care?” If someone asks “should I go to urgent care?” and their life is not in immediate danger, the answer is probably yes. In some cases, though, “should I go to urgent care?” may be tricky to answer since some medical cases may blur the line between urgent and emergency care.
Finding Emergency Care
To start with, it should be specified that emergency care in particular is for life-threatening and serious medical cases, those that are too severe for a convenient care clinic’s staff to handle. When a life is in danger, an emergency clinic or a hospital’s ER is the best option, and many of them are open 24 hours a day. After all, some Americans may get badly injured or suffer major conditions at odd times of day, so a nearby adult may look up “24 hour emergency clinics near me” online to find one. They may find the name and address of such a place, and rush the victim there.
What calls for this high level of care? Major trauma such as broken arms or legs merit a visit to the ER or emergency clinic, and the same is true of head wounds and eyeball wounds, such as a cracked skull or concussion. A patient may have suffered bullet or stab wounds which may be bleeding heavily, and the patient may also have damaged organs. Any of this might threaten a life. Meanwhile, some other patients have just had a heart attack or a stroke, and some patients who need emergency care are experiencing chest pain or difficulty breathing. Such conditions may turn life-threatening at any time, if they aren’t already, and only an emergency clinic can handle them. And what about abdominal pain? Such pain has many different causes, and most of them actually don’t require emergency care. But if the pain is very strong, sudden, or long-lasting, emergency care is greatly recommended.
An emergency clinic or hospital’s ER can save a life, but these are not catch-all medical service sites. Lesser medical cases call for urgent care, which is often much cheaper and faster than emergency care anyway, and therefore more convenient. Someone asking “should I go to urgent care?” should look into walk clinics or urgent care sites in particular, and pass over the ER.
Should I Go to Urgent Care
Urgent care is quite broad, and the nurse practitioners and physicians at an urgent care or walk in clinic can handle most minor, non life-threatening illnesses and conditions among patients. Many hundreds of urgent care clinics can be found across the United States today, often built into strip malls or retailers, and they usually have a pharmacy on hand, too. It may also be noted that some medical clinics today are a hybrid model of urgent and emergency care, offering both types. This is helpful when it’s difficult to tell what level of care a patient might need, making these hybrid clinics a safe and convenient option to pursue.
Four in five of these urgent care clinics can offer bone fracture treatment for guests, and nearly all of them can also treat wrist or ankle sprains, too. Patients may also get stitches or bandages from the nurse practitioner staff for shallow cuts, and patients may get lotion or ointment for nasty sunburns or skin rashes. During influenza season, patients may visit to get medicinal relief from the common cold or flu, and patients may visit to have upper respiratory issues looked at (this is very common). Minor abdominal pain may also be diagnosed at such a clinic, as well.