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Urgent Care versus Emergency Room

 carpaltunnel.jpgImagine it’s past your doctor’s office hours and you need to be seen. Do you go to the Emergency Room (ER) or Urgent Care? Sometimes it’s hard to choose.

Many people only go to the ER. They’re just used to it. Often, they could pay less and wait less by going to Urgent Care. Urgent Care has a lower co-pay and costs about the same as a visit to your doctor. Plus, emergency rooms may have much longer wait times because they treat the sickest people first.

 Here’s how to decide where to go and when to call 911:

 + When should you go to your primary care physician?
Go to your regular doctor for any health problem that is not an emergency. Check to see if your doctor has late hours, weekend hours or same day appointments.

 + When should you go to Urgent Care?
Urgent Care is a great choice for minor injuries and illnesses that occur after regular office hours. For example, allergies, sprains, minor cuts and burns, and sore throat can be treated at Urgent Care.

 + When should you go to the ER?
The ER is right for severe injuries and illnesses that need to be seen and treated right away. If you are in severe pain or believe your condition may lead to serious complications or death, go to the ER as soon as you can.

+ When should you call 911?
If you have a life-threatening emergency such as chest pain, trouble breathing, poisoning or serious head injury, call 911 right away. The 911 operator will let you know if an ambulance will pick you up or if someone should drive you to the ER.

 Make sure that you or a family member calls your doctor within 24 hours of an ER or Urgent Care visit. That way, your doctor can follow up with your care.