If you are experiencing any kind of health concern, you need to know who you should reach out to. There are several different locations you can go to for help. Before you go, make sure you know which one applies to your situation.
Your primary care doctor addresses a majority of your health concerns. They are typically your first point of contact. They know your medical history and they will best know how to help you. If you have a health concern that is not an emergency, you should start by scheduling an appointment at your doctor’s office. Concerns worth visiting your doctor include anything that can be addressed after a few days or weeks of waiting. You also visit your doctor for any concerns that have been ongoing. If your concern does not immediately jeopardize your health, then go to your doctor’s office.
While urgent care may seem like it applies to an emergency situation, it does not. In many cases, people go to the ER when they should have gone to urgent care. An urgent care facility is meant to address health concerns when your doctor is available. If you have something that needs to be addressed that day but your doctor is unavailable or their office is closed, you should go to urgent care. At urgent care, providers will address issues including flu symptoms, small cuts, sprains, fevers, headaches, sinus infections, ear infections, and anything else that needs to be addressed immediately but does not threaten your life. In most cases, health concerns addressed at urgent care have begun recently. Otherwise, make an appointment with your primary care provider.
As the name suggests, emergency rooms are for emergencies. You should only visit the emergency room if your life or the life of a loved one is in danger. Valid situations include choking/trouble breathing, head injuries, neck/spine injuries, severe burns, electrical shocks, seizures, or severe chest pain. The emergency room should be saved for serious situations. If your situation is not that serious, consider visiting urgent care or scheduling an appointment with your doctor.
Knowing where to go can save you a lot of time and money. The health system includes several different options in order to address your concerns in the best way possible. If you are injured or experiencing any other kind of health concern, take a moment to evaluate where you should go to receive care.
Understanding what urgent care is used for can help you know when you should visit. Click here to learn more.