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Healthcare 101: Should You Visit the ER or an Urgent Care Center?

When you or someone you’re with suffers an injury, it’s important to know whether to make a trip to an urgent care facility or to the emergency room. It can be confusing! When faced with making this decision, you’ll need to assess how serious the injury is — and how quickly medical attention is needed. Asking yourself these two simple questions can help take the guesswork out of where to seek treatment for accidents and illnesses.

1) How severe is your problem?

For critical situations, don’t hesitate to go to the emergency room or call 911. True emergencies include chest pain, seizures, compound fractures, extreme pain and excessive bleeding. However, if your injury or illness is not life-threatening, then it might be best to head to your nearest urgent care center, like CareSpot, for an evaluation. Urgent care facilities are equipped to handle issues including pulled or strained muscles; minor cuts, bruises and burns; eye abrasions; removal of foreign objects; minor auto accident injuries; and more. CareSpot can also provide IV treatment for dehydration, sutures for minor lacerations, and digital X-rays for sprains or fractures.

2) How soon do you need treatment?

Unfortunately, accidents are inevitable, and they rarely happen at a convenient time. Keep in mind that if you are experiencing an emergency (like the ones listed above), you should head straight to the ER or call 911. But for non-life-threatening medical issues that arise after hours, urgent care centers are a convenient option. At urgent care centers, you’ll usually encounter shorter wait times for non-life-threatening issues than you would at an ER, and you’ll also incur less cost.

CareSpot offers extended hours seven days a week and can usually accommodate walk-in patients within an hour or two. At CareSpot, you can help reduce your wait in the lobby before walking in by visiting CareSpot.com to save a spot in advance.