Should I Go to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room?

Apr 11, 2023
Should I Go to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room?
Injuries and medical problems are bound to happen, usually at inopportune times. When a problem arises, which option is better, urgent care or the emergency room? Keep reading to determine when urgent care is best and when the ER is essential.

Many people consider urgent care and emergency rooms the same, but they differ. When you have a medical emergency or suffer a sudden injury, it can be hard to decide which option is better.

At Highway Integrative Health Center, our team understands the need for a fast evaluation and efficient treatment when you're not feeling yourself.

Our team consists of two specialized doctors, Dr. Jose Lopez-Chevres and Dr. Yaritza Arriaga O'Neill, both of whom offer urgent care services at our office in Davenport, Florida.

What is urgent care?

Urgent care is a walk-in clinic where our doctors treat minor injuries and illnesses. It's a place that provides same-day care for issues that aren't emergencies but still require immediate care.

Urgent care is another option when you can’t get in to see your primary care provider. If you're sick or suffer an unexpected minor injury, urgent care is the place to go where you may not have to wait as long as you would in the emergency room.

However, urgent care isn't for severe illnesses or complicated injuries. They need to have specialized staff and equipment to handle true emergencies.

Conditions that warrant the ER

Some illnesses and injuries require a quick evaluation and in-depth treatment options, including surgical intervention or overnight care. These problems are best suited for the emergency room, as various specialties are available in one place.

Doctors in an emergency care setting can diagnose and treat several issues that pop up unexpectedly, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Seizures
  • Facial lacerations
  • Concussions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severely broken bones
  • Change in mental status
  • Large cuts

Anytime you're unsure of where you should go for an emergency, the ER is your best option. The emergency room offers more specialized care than an urgent care setting.

If you require in-depth testing or surgical intervention, it's also best to head to the ER instead of urgent care. You may also want to go to the ER for severe dehydration, burns, or abdominal pain.

When is urgent care appropriate?

There are several circumstances when you should consider an urgent care clinic over the ER. Some of the issues we treat in our urgent care include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold symptoms
  • Fevers
  • Minor rashes
  • Small cuts or abrasions
  • Strains or sprains
  • Sore throat
  • Minor fractures
  • Cough
  • Earache

You should contact your primary care provider before you head into urgent care to find out if it's an appropriate place to go for your condition. You can also get an appointment the same day with your doctor, who's familiar with your health history.

However, if you can't reach your doctor, you can always come to our urgent care for treatment.

Treatments at an urgent care

When you come into our urgent care, we register you in our system and ask what we're seeing you for. Depending on how busy we are, you may go to a treatment room or wait for a short time.

Once you're in a room, we evaluate your vital signs and symptoms to determine what testing you need and the proper treatment route. We provide X-rays, urine testing, and throat swabs to determine what's causing your symptoms.

We then provide you with a diagnosis based on test findings, physical exams, and symptoms. From there, we choose the appropriate treatment option, which may include:

  • Splinting
  • Casting
  • Crutches
  • Prescriptions
  • Stitches
  • Vaccines
  • Medications

In some cases, you may require more specialized treatment. Our team provides enough care to get you stable. We can either have an ambulance transport you to the ER or schedule an appointment with a specialist.

Call our office today at 689-600-1542 to schedule a consultation, or request an appointment online using our convenient booking tool. You can also walk into our urgent care center in Davenport, Florida, when you require a quick evaluation and treatment.