In a perfect world, you would never be stuck in bed for a week with the flu or have a nasty fall and sprain your ankle. As we all know, life just doesn’t work that way. Illnesses and injuries can happen at any given moment and knowing how best to handle each situation can sometimes be a bit confusing.
“Is it serious enough to call 911?”
“Can treatment wait until after the weekend?”
“Should I go straight to the emergency room, or can I go to urgent care?”
These can be difficult questions to answer for yourself, and even more difficult when making decisions for other members of your household. Add a dash of stress, and the right choice becomes increasingly difficult.
The most common predicament is typically whether to go to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic. While both imply a pressing need to see a physician, there are many important differences between the purposes of emergency rooms and the purposes of urgent care clinics.
First, emergency rooms are designed in a way to address the needs of the most critical types of illnesses or injuries. Life-threatening or limb-threatening emergencies should always be handled by going to the emergency room or by calling 911.
On the other hand, urgent care clinics are designed to be your go-to when you have a pressing need to see a physician but your regular doctor is not available and you cannot wait for treatment.
A good rule of thumb for choosing between the two is to consider whether or not this would be something for which you would go to your regular doctor. If you would feel comfortable being treated by your primary care physician for this illness or injury, then it is probably something that should be treated in the urgent care setting. This saves you a lot of time by getting the prompt attention in an urgent care (not to mention money), while keeping ER doctors available for true emergencies.
If you walk into an ER with a non life-threatening situation, you may have to wait until more pressing illnesses and injuries are tended to. The average wait time to be seen and treated in the emergency room is 2 hours, and according to Consumer Health Ratings, the average expense for 1 visit to the ER in 2013 was $1423! Oftentimes, patients are seen within minutes of coming to our Fairless Hills office, and your co-pay is often not much more than a regular doctor visit.
Some of the most common reasons for urgent care include:
- Animal bites
- Illnesses where you already know the diagnosis but need to be treated quickly (ear infections, urinary tract infections, etc.)
- Minor trauma: shallow cuts, minor burns, sprained ankles, dislocations
- Sinus infections
- Sore throats
- Stomach flu
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
Patient Care Now Urgent Care is here to help address your immediate and urgent medical needs 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Staffed by top ER doctors from around the region, we offer urgent care for patients of all ages, as well as on-site X-Ray and lab diagnostics. For any questions about treatments we provide, or what type of injuries or illness we can treat, please give us a call at (267) 202-6433. We look forward to providing you with the highest quality urgent care services in an efficient, compassionate, and comfortable environment.