Both urgent care and emergency rooms provide after hours medical care. It can be difficult to distinguish which one is appropriate for your current medical care needs. While emergency rooms tend to focus more on life emergencies, it is not always easy to know when a medical condition could potentially be life threatening. Keep the following considerations in mind when deciding if you require emergency care or if a urgent multicare medical center will work.
How long have you had the symptoms?
Many cold and flu symptoms come on quick and stick around for many days. If you are seeking medical care because your symptoms are not going away, visiting an urgent care center is sufficient. Because the symptoms have already been around for a few days, without getting worse, they are unlikely to be due to an emergency. In fact, this is one of the most common causes for visits to both urgent care centers and emergency departments. On average, between 5% and 20% of Americans come down with the flu each year.
Is your medical condition chronic?
Chronic pain conditions usually mean that the patient is somewhat familiar with the symptoms. For example, a patient with chronic lower back pain is usually familiar with lower back pain symptoms. Chronic conditions do not usually warrant a visit to the local emergency department, unless the chronic condition has life risking symptoms. If you are a chronic pain sufferer, it is important to understand your symptoms and know when emergency versus urgent care is needed.
Do you have any severe allergies?
A person without allergies can usually wait to be seen at a local urgent care center. However, if you are stung by a bee and you are allergic to bees, it is best to go to the local emergency department immediately. While urgent care centers are usually able to provide allergy relief, they are not set up for emergencies. About 85% of Americans are allergic to poison ivy. If symptoms continue to get worse or the breathing is affected, it is important to seek emergency medical care.
Are any urgent care centers open?
Urgent care centers have better hours and availability than most traditional physician offices, but many do not operate into the night. If you begin to experience medical symptoms in the middle of the night, it is best to head to the local emergency room. However, if your symptoms occur after business hours, it is possible that the local urgent center is open. About 85% of urgent care centers are open seven days a week. It can be helpful to know your local, like Tacoma urgent care centers hours, before requiring any medical care.
What type of care does your insurance cover?
Medical care in the United States can be expensive. If you visit either an urgent center or an emergency department without insurance, you are likely going to be billed for thousands of dollars. You can even receive high costs if you visit a medical center that is not covered under your current insurance. When possible, try to stay within your health insurance network. You can easily call the insurance company or view a list of covered providers on their website.
Although many urgent care centers exist today, many patients are still not sure which to visit when experiencing medical symptoms. It is important to evaluate your condition, your symptoms, and your medical care insurance coverage. Also, know ahead of time which urgent care centers are local and what their operating hours are. This will make the decision process easier and more convenient, ensuring that you are receiving any needed medical care, in a timely manner.