When to Go to an Urgent Care Vs Emergency Room (ER)

These are general guidelines on when to go to an urgent care VS Emergency Room (ER), this not a medical advise.

First ER visit will cost you $1300 to $2200 (on average), depending on where you live and which condition is treated. Urgent Care visits are usually one third the cost of an ER visit, for the same or similar medical service.  So you should do basic checking before heading to an ER.

First, know that an Urgent care is not emergency care, it is an “immediate care”.  Ask yourself this question:
1. Is my medical condition of “immediate” concern?  
2. Is my medical condition of “urgent” concern?  

Some times, patients also use a local urgent care as a place to receive after-hours care, as the primary care physician is closed on weekends, or after hours. Or sometimes the primary care physician is so busy, that they cannot give you an appointment for the same day.

Urgent care centers are same-day clinics that can handle a variety of medical problems that need to be treated right away, but are not considered true emergencies and life threatening.  Some example symptoms that can be evaluated and treated at an urgent care clinic include:

1. Fever without a rash
2. Vomiting or persistent diarrhea
3. Abdominal pain
4. Wheezing or shortness of breath
5. Dehydration
6. Moderate flu-like symptoms
7. Sprains and strains
8. Small cuts that may require stitches

If your symptoms come on gradually or you already know the diagnosis — for example, you have repeated urinary tract infections, or you recognize when your child has come down with an ear infection — it’s worth calling your primary care doctor’s office to see if you can get a same-day appointment. After all, your primary care doctor knows your health history, including what treatments have worked best in the past and whether you have other medical conditions that need to be taken into consideration.

However, while urgent care clinics are not a substitute for your primary care physician, they are a great resource when you need care but can’t get in with your doctor.

When to go to a walk-in clinic

Walk-in clinics (commonly referred to as a retail clinic) offer fast, convenient access to medical care. No appointment is necessary and they are generally staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Walk-in clinics can treat most minor of ailments, such as:

1. Painful urination
2. Rashes without fever
3. Mild flu-like symptoms (except viral infections like Coronavirus)
4. Cough and congestion symptoms
5. Sore throat
6. Ear pain
7. Eye redness, discharge or itchiness

They also provide additional services, such as sports physical and vaccines. They are a good option for when you are not feeling well, but it’s not serious enough for the emergency room or urgent care.

If you need immediate help, you can call us or simply visit us, we are open 7 days a week.