Knowing the best option for treatment before you’re in need of care may save you a lot of money and frustration in the long run. Although the emergency room and urgent care can both provided needed treatment, there are certain differences you should understand.
What’s the Difference?
Emergency rooms and urgent care facilities may seem similar on the surface, but in reality, they’re quite different. Both are typically staffed by skilled medical providers and offer on-site labs and X-rays. Emergency rooms, however, also have access to trauma-specific care resources.
As a general rule, the ER should only be used for life-threatening emergencies.
Most common conditions be treated at an urgent care facility:
- Allergies and allergic reactions
- Asthma and respiratory illnesses
- Breaks and sprains
- Dehydration requiring IV fluids or medications
- Animal & insect bites
- Ear infections
- Fevers and flu
- Nausea and vomiting
- Removal of foreign objects from ears, noses, etc.
- Respiratory infections
- Sore throats
- Lacerations & wounds
BetterMed urgent care facilities have the resources to treat most conditions. However, if you’re experiencing the following, you should go to the emergency room:
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Drug overdoses
- Serious head injuries
- Severe chest or abdominal pain
- Trouble breathing
Cost and Time
Cost can be a major factor when considering an emergency room visit. According to recent research, a visit to urgent care costs 85% less than an emergency room visit.
Aside from the drastic difference in cost, emergency room visits tend to take a lot longer. Most appointments at BetterMed last 45 minutes or less. The average ER visit is around four hours.
The Final Word
The most important factor when deciding between visiting an emergency room or an urgent care location is the symptoms. If you believe you or a loved one is experiencing life-threatening symptoms, do not hesitate to go to the emergency room. For most other cases, however, visiting an urgent care facility like BetterMed is a great choice.