Let’s face it, life doesn’t always go as planned, unexpected trips to urgent care are just one of the many things people will most likely encounter at some point in their life. As the weather warms up and the days grow longer, urgent care visits might become even more common as people start venturing outdoors. Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC, CEO of UCA, says that urgent care clinics handle about 89 million patient visits each year, which includes more than 29% of all primary care visits in the US, and nearly 15% of all outpatient physician visits.
While some urgent care visits might be hard to avoid, some of them are completely preventable. With the COVID-19 pandemic still very much at the forefront of concern, you might be wondering if it’s safe to seek medical care at urgent care, the short answer is yes, if you need it. Here are some tips to help you decipher if you need to be seen at the Emergency Room or Urgent Care, according to Health Grades.
Go to the ER if your situation is a true emergency.
A hospital ER—or dialing 911—is the only place to go for life-threatening symptoms or situations:
- Heart attack symptoms including chest pain, trouble breathing, and clammy skin
- Stroke symptoms including trouble speaking or understanding speech, or sudden weakness in the face, arm or leg
- Severe trauma including head injury
- Severe bleeding, or bleeding that doesn’t stop with pressure after about five minutes
- Loss of consciousness
Don’t go to either an urgent care center or a clinic for these conditions. They will send you to the ER or call 911 for you. If you are in doubt, err on the safe side and head to the nearest hospital.
Consider an urgent care center for situations that are not life-threatening.
Urgent care centers can handle a variety of situations that are not life-threatening:
- Animal bites
- Broken bones
- Coughs, sore throats, high fevers, and flu
- Cuts that require stitches
- Earaches and sinus pain
- Eye problems
- Minor burns
- Minor headaches or breathing problems
- Rashes and skin problems
- Sports injuries
- Urinary tract infections
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach or belly pain
The staff at Rochester Medical Group are doing what we can to make health care a little easier for people and are always here to answer your questions. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.