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When to Use Urgent Care vs the Emergency Room

Let’s face it. None of us ever want to face sudden injury or illness. Unfortunately, it’s just part of life.

In these moments, it can be difficult to decide if we should rush to urgent care vs emergency room.

Each facility serves those who require immediate medical attention.

However, they’re intended to serve different types of injury or illness, and certainly have different costs associated with them.

Let’s take a look at where you should visit if you’re ever faced with a situation that requires immediate medical attention.

Urgent Care

Simply put, an urgent care facility is designed to fill in the void when you need to see your primary care doctor but they don’t have any immediate openings.

If that nagging sore throat is only getting worse, but your primary doctor is booked through the end of the week, start looking for your local urgent care office.

Emergency Room

An emergency room is designed to take care of advanced, life-threatening illness. The way to think of it is emergency rooms are equipped to tackle severe injuries and perform urgent surgeries.

So, if you’re facing any life-threatening issues such as chest pains that are affecting your heart, or a major wound that’s causing you to lose a significant amount of blood, you might want to rush to the nearest hospital.

Urgent Care vs Emergency Room Conditions

Let’s look at a list of scenarios and see which location fits the bill.

Urgent Care

According to Cigna, these are the situations more suited toward an urgent care visit:

  • If you’re experiencing any cold or flu symptoms
  • If you’re faced with persistent coughing or a sore throat
  • Anytime you have a high fever
  • If you’re experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain
  • If you need any cuts or severe scrapes looked at
  • If you have any minor injuries or burns

Emergency Room

Also per Cigna’s suggestions, these are the situations that might require a visit to the emergency room:

  • When you’re having an allergic reaction to food, or animal or bug bites
  • If you have any broken bones
  • Any time you’re experiencing chest pains
  • If you’re constantly vomiting
  • If you’re continuously bleeding
  • If you’re experiencing severe shortness of breath
  • If you have any kind of deep wound
  • If you’re experiencing weakness or pain in a leg or arm
  • For any type of head injury
  • If you experience any bouts of unconsciousness

Today, many urgent care facilities are open 7 days a week and offer extended hours. Some even operate 24 hours a day.

Coastal Urgent Care operates five facilities that are open seven days a week, from 9 am – 8 pm. Walk-ins are always welcome.

Urgent Care vs Emergency Room Costs

If you’re ever on the fence between an urgent care vs emergency room visit, first consider the list above. Then, consider the following statement.

According to Blue Cross Blue Shield, an emergency room visit can cost, on average, $1,233 whereas an urgent care visit can cost, on average, $60 with health insurance.

Visit Coastal Urgent Care

Click here for a complete list of our services. Some of those services include the treatment of cold and flu symptoms, cuts and burns, sprains and fractures, and foreign body removal.