Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room

To highlight going to the emergency room

Did you know in the summer ER visits increase. The sun is shining, for many young people school is out, and the desire to do outdoor activities is as strong as can be. Whether it’s bike riding or deciding against your better judgment to light fireworks on the 4th of July (the busiest ER Day of the year). The likelihood of suffering injuries goes up in the summertime. But just because you’re hurt doesn’t mean you should head for the emergency room. This is why we are going to compare when to go to urgent care vs. emergency room.

When coming face to face with an urgent medical situation, it’s crucial to understand the difference between urgent care and the emergency room. Both options provide medical care, but they serve different purposes and differ greatly in costs.

Urgent Care

Let’s start with urgent care. Urgent care centers provide prompt medical attention for non-life threatening conditions that require immediate treatment. This includes minor injuries, sprains, infections, stitches, broken bones, allergies, and common illnesses like colds and the flu. Check the nearest urgent care is to you. Find out what services they offer and what hours they operate before you have a medical emergency.

Emergency Room

The emergency room is equipped to handle severe life-threatening conditions and medical emergencies. Emergency rooms are available 24/7 and are equipped with a full range of medical resources including diagnostic tools, surgical capabilities, and specialized healthcare professionals. You should head to the ER in critical situations like severe chest pain, head injuries, deep wounds, suspected heart attacks or strokes, major burns, severe allergic reactions (ex: anaphylactic shock), and other life-threatening conditions.


Pros and cons of choosing Urgent care vs. Emergency room. Urgent care centers offer shorter wait times compared to emergency rooms. You won’t wait hours to be seen like in an emergency room where a non-critical case is bumped farther down a waitlist. Urgent care centers generally have lower costs compared to emergency rooms. Emergency rooms are always open and being at a hospital means broader care is available. However, many insurance policies require prior authorization or have specific guidelines for emergency room visits. The best thing to do is find out what your insurance covers when it comes to emergency care prior needing that care.

At the end of the day, it’s best to assess the severity of your condition first and foremost. If your situation is not a true emergency opt for urgent care. You can potentially save money while still getting appropriate care.

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