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How to Know When to go to Your Doctor, a Hospital, or an Urgent Care Express Center for the Right Medical Attention

Urgent cares see many patients

The medical landscape in the United States is far different than it used to be decades ago, especially since the urgent care revolution that began in the early to mid 20th century. During this tumultuous time in American history, the old ways of thinking, doing, and being were being challenged and replaced by fresher, more progressive perspectives. So not only were beliefs about sex, women’s rights, civil rights, music, and war being challenged, but the American attitude toward medical care and how it was being administered was challenged as well.

Back in those days, there was no such thing as urgent medical care. But then — as with now — hospital emergency departments were meant for medical emergencies and primary care physician offices were reserved for chronic and more long term ailments. And as for all the stuff in between? Most people either chose one or the other previously mentioned care options or in some cases, tried to take of the ailment on their own with home remedies. Fast forward to today, and it’s extremely difficult to what the medical world would be like without urgent care services and urgent care facilities.

How are urgent care express centers different than hospital emergency departments and primary care physicians?

A trip to the hospital emergency room should only be reserved for true medical emergencies for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the majority of hospital emergency departments in the United States are short staffed, overflowing with patients, and generally burdened by a heavy workload and back up of patients needing treatment. Going to the emergency room for a medical treatment that could have been administered at an urgent care express center. While hospital emergency room always prioritize and take the most serious medical emergencies first, going there for treatment unnecessarily interrupts and slows down the process.

Second, going to the emergency room is expensive! The average cost of going to the emergency for non-emergency medical treatment is over $1,700 without health insurance coverage where as the average cost of going to an urgent care express center is roughly $150 without health insurance coverage. Why pay so much more for the same medical care when you don’t have to? You wouldn’t do that for anything else, so don’t do it when it comes to urgent care express medical services. Save yourself the time, hassle, and stress!

What kinds of conditions warrant a trip to the emergency room then?

Though emergency room visits should only be reserved for true medical emergencies, it always pays to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health. Medical conditions and illnesses that require emergency medical treatment include sudden disorientation or difficulty speaking, sudden numbness or weakness, seizure or sudden loss of consciousness, major trauma to the head, spine or neck injuries, coughing or vomiting blood, heart attack or chest pain followed by numbness, sever burns or cuts, broken limbs, and sudden allergic reactions.

Urgent care express visits on the other hand should be reserved for medical conditions, ailments, and illnesses that require immediate medical attention but that are not necessarily emergencies. Examples include urinary tract infections, back or joint pain, cold or flu virus treatment, strep throat, minor cuts, scrapes, or burns, headaches, mild allergic reactions, and more. Keep in mind though that urgent care express centers are not meant to be replacements for neither hospital emergency rooms or your primary care physician! And always remember to use your best judgement in terms of deciding where to seek the appropriate medical care.

So when is a good time to go a primary care doctor?

Unlike emergency room physicians and urgent care medical staff, your primary care or family physician is more concerned with treating, monitoring, and evaluating your overall health and well being and not necessarily the emergency or urgent medical condition at hand. Though they are fully equipped to treat something like the flu, doctors visits are best reserved for long term conditions, prescription refills, and testing.

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