Should the bruise on your leg following your soccer game send you to the emergency room, or to an urgent care center?

doctorOften times, when we we’re faced with a sudden injury, it can be difficult to know where to go for the care you need.  Life-threatening emergencies, such as a stroke, heart attack, or serious head injury will usually warrant a visit to the emergency department, also known as the emergency room.  An illness or an injury that doesn’t appear to be life-threatening, but can possibly wait until the next day should be treated at an urgent care center.

Urgent care centers are known to provide quality health care for times when you want to avoid the cost and wait time of an emergency room visit, and for times when your primary care physician’s office is closed.

But knowing the difference of when to visit urgent care and the emergency room is crucial for seeking treatment for emergencies.

When to visit the emergency room

You can visit an emergency room at any point of the day, from the wee hours of 3am to middle of the day at 3pm.  Emergency rooms are open 24/7, and are equipped to handle complex medical emergencies, including injuries from car accidents to heart attacks.

Medical conditions that require the care found at an emergency room include:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Weaknesses/numbness on one side
  • Fainting/loss of consciousness
  • Head or eye injury
  • Severe burns
  • Severe bleeding
  • Seizures

When it comes to deciding where to go to receive care, if your instincts tell you to visit the ER, trust you gut.

When to visit urgent care

For times when your primary care physician’s office is closed for the day, you may think your only other option is to visit the emergency room, but there is another option of where to seek care.  Urgent care centers treat a range of medical conditions that need to be treated right away, but are not life-threatening emergencies.  Some symptoms that can be treated at an urgent care center include:

  • Small cuts that require stitching
  • Sprains and strains
  • Colds and flu-like symptoms
  • Mild fevers
  • Skin rashes from tick bites
  • Seasonal allergy symptoms
  • Dehydration

While urgent care centers don’t replace your primary doctor, they can be a great resource for when you need treatment, but want to avoid the emergency room, and when you can’t squeeze in a last-minute appointment with your primary care physician.

At AFC Urgent Care Shelton, we provide urgent care services for children and adults, seven days a week, and no appointment is ever needed to be seen by one of our physicians.  For more information about the services we provide, please call to speak with one of our medical professionals at 203-567-4171.