Urgent Care or the Emergency Room? Where to Go

There once was a time when you or someone you knew fell ill and was unable to make an immediate appointment with their doctor, and the only resource for immediate care was the emergency room. That emergency room visit often lasted a few too many painful hours waiting to be seen. These days we have a great option known as Urgent Care .

Millennials are the number one culprits utilizing the Emergency Room for illnesses that are not urgent-care-vs-emergency-room-afc-vernon-ctruled ER level. According to a study done by Amino, about 37 percent of millennial men and 30 percent of millennial women in their 20’s seek out emergency room for immediate care. In addition 64 percent of millennial flu diagnoses are made by emergency room doctors. This would not normally be considered ER level serious!

For those who have gone to the ER, you may also be familiar with the hefty price tag that comes along with the visit. For example, according to Debt.org,  if you go to the ER for allergies (depending on your insurance) you could be paying $345. The same visit at an Urgent Care Center could cost you a third of the cost. How about a urinary tract infection? Cost at the ER is $665 and at an Urgent Care center only a fourth to a fifth the cost!…You can pick up your jaw from the ground now. 

Urgent Care centers are shaking up the healthcare landscape and opening up many markets, with 112 locations in Connecticut alone at the time of this article. That being said, some may ask, “What is an Urgent Care Center?” Urgent Care Centers help bridge the gap between your primary care and emergency room visits. Essentially, if you cannot get an appointment with your primary care or do not want to wait in the ER for a non-life threatening illness/injury, urgent care is your answer. Urgent Care Centers are able to perform basic lab tests, x-rays, and simple to complex procedures.

Urgent Care or the Emergency Room: Here are some examples of when to go to each

Most Common reasons you should go to the Emergency Room are:

  • Severe Chest pain and arm tingling/ numbness
  • Severe Abdominal Pain with Fever
  • Wheezing or Shortness of Breath
  • Paralysis
  • Intestinal Bleeding
  • High Fevers or Rash, especially among children
  • Pregnancy-related issues
  • Repeated Vomiting
  • Poisoning
  • Severe head or eye injury
  • Severe Allergic Reactions with Shortness of breath and/ or swelling
  • Unconsciousness

Most Common reasons to go to an Urgent Care Center:

  • Accident and Falls
  • Sports, School, Travel and Immigration physicals
  • Ear infection
  • Sore Throat
  • Sprains and strains
  • Moderate back problems
  • Breathing difficulties (such as asthma)
  • Bleeding/Cuts (Stitches)
  • Diagnostics services, including x-rays and lab tests
  • Eye Irritation and redness
  • Fever or Flu
  • Vomiting or flu
  • Minor broken bones and fractures (fingers, toes)
  • Skin rashes and infections

Knowing when to go to the Emergency Room and when to visit an Urgent Care Center not only can save you money, but your most valuable asset, time. Both are valuable resources of healthcare for the community. It is important to understand when to use one versus the other. However, if you have any further questions on when to go to the ER vs AFC Urgent Care, feel free to contact us anytime, or check out our FAQ page where we answer many of your questions.

AFC Urgent Care Vernon is open 7 days a week Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 8am-5pm. Staffed by licensed professionals, we accept most insurances including Medicare and Medicaid (Husky). Visit us, no appointment needed.

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