When faced with minor emergencies like a small cut, it can be hard to figure out if it’s appropriate to go to an urgent care facility. After all, you could also opt to see your primary care physician, or go to the nearest emergency room.
To make this kind of decision, it helps to know in advance what exactly an urgent care center is for – and to recognize the differences between urgent care and other types of medical care facilities.
Primary Care Physicians
Primary care physicians handle a variety of routine, day-to-day medical care needs and services. If you have a cold, you probably see your primary care physician for medication. If you need a flu vaccination, your primary care physician is the one who most likely administers it. And if you need your annual checkup and blood work to see if you are healthy, your primary care physician can provide those services.
Most primary care physicians have hours of operation similar to offices. They are usually not open nights or weekends. Seeing your primary care physician requires getting an appointment ahead of time (sometimes several days before). If you have an urgent or emergency situation, your PCP is not the one to visit.
Emergency rooms are for life-threatening emergencies that would put your life in danger if not treated immediately. For example, if you have chest pains and suspect it may be a heart attack or blood clot – you should immediately go to an emergency room for immediate medical attention – not an urgent care facility.
Other conditions requiring an ER include stroke symptoms, or serious bodily injury after an accident. ERs have access to all life-saving diagnostic equipment to perform necessary CT scans, ultrasounds, or other tests – as well as surgical facilities for immediate procedures.
Medical issues that do not appear to be life-threatening and can wait a day or two before getting checked out by a doctor are generally not for the emergency room.
Urgent care is for medical issues that may not necessarily be life-threatening but require quick medical care. So, if you have a bad case of the flu and your primary care physician is closed or does not have an appointment available, you should visit an urgent care center. Urgent care centers deal with many medical issues that fall in between life-threatening emergencies and routine care. Here are some examples:
· Fever and flu symptoms
· Sore throats
· Skin rashes
· Ankle sprains
· Muscle strains
· Urinary tract infections
· Vomiting and diarrhea
· Cuts and scratches
While a big cut with significant loss of blood likely requires emergency room care, small cuts are exactly the type of injury that urgent care centers treat on a regular basis. They are able to clean up the wound, check for internal damage, and stitch up the cut so you can begin to heal.
Quick and Convenient
Urgent care centers are designed to provide quick medical care when you need it fast. When life happens and emergencies pop up that require medical attention sooner rather than later, urgent care centers come to save the day.
Urgent care centers have extended hours and do not require appointments. This lets you walk in to any urgent care center whenever you need it and get medical care at your convenience. If you need medical attention that isn’t life-threatening but can’t wait more than a few hours to get treated, an urgent care center is the right place for you to go.
Premier Urgent Care in Pennsylvania
Turn to a reliable and experienced urgent care center like Patient Care Now Urgent Care for your family’s urgent medical care needs. With our board-certified emergency medical providers who are qualified to treat adult, pediatric, and orthopedic urgent care problems, you will be in safe hands.
We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year – and we offer on-site X-ray, labs, and more. No appointment is necessary. You may call ahead at (267) 202-6433 to let us know you are coming, or check in online for the fastest service.
To learn more about everything Patient Care Now Urgent Care can do for your family’s urgent care needs, call (267) 202-6433.