It can be difficult to decide whether you need to go to the emergency room or to urgent care. This is something is important to know because urgent care does not offer all of the same services an emergency room does and may not be able to properly assist you in an emergency.
What Is Urgent Care?
You should only go to urgent care for services if the injury or illness is non-life-threatening. Urgent care offers many different services as a way to get fast care and prevent bringing non-emergent injuries and illnesses to the emergency room. If your illness or injury does not need to be treated immediately or does not pose an immediate threat to your life, you should be safe with urgent care.
Urgent Care Service Options
The service options offered may slightly vary depending on the urgent care clinic you go to.
Urgent care centers can service the following:
- Testing for viruses (Influenza, COVID-19, etc.)
- Minor cuts
- Skin rashes
- Urinary tract infections
- Ear infections
- Sports physicals
- Minor fractures and breaks
An urgent care center can assist with broken bones if they are not bad breaks. If there is minimal bleeding, there are no protruding bones, and it does not cause excessive pain, you may be safe to seek medical attention at an urgent care center. However, if the break is in a vulnerable area, in the spine or back, you should always go to the emergency room.
Benefits of Urgent Care
Urgent care can be a great option if you cannot get an appointment with your primary doctor, and it is not an emergency.
Some of the benefits of urgent care can include:
- No appointments are needed
- Faster than an emergency room
- Cheaper than an emergency room
- Longer hours than your doctor's office
The doctors that work in urgent care clinics are just as skilled as emergency room physicians. You should never feel like you are "settling" for an urgent care clinic.
Cost of Urgent Care Visits
The cost of an urgent care visit can vary depending on the type of services you needed. The average cost of an urgent care visit can average between $150 to $200. If you do need extra tests or x-rays, this can often raise the cost. Fortunately, because insurance providers are legally required to cover emergency services, most insurance plans will cover urgent care. However, always check with your own insurance plan because some insurance providers do not consider urgent care services as an emergency.
For more information on urgent care services, contact a professional near you.