Some decisions are easy. When you need a haircut, you go to the barber or hair salon. If you need to fix your car, you see a mechanic. But making choices regarding your health care can be a lot murkier. When you’re hurt or feeling sick, you may wonder whether you should go to the emergency room, an urgent care facility, or schedule an appointment with your primary physician.
Knowing where to go can be difficult. It all depends on your specific ailment, timeframe, budget, and health insurance. Here’s a guide to assist you.
If you have a health emergency that requires immediate treatment, you should go to the emergency room. Some serious conditions that warrant an emergency room visit include:
- Potentially life-threatening symptoms, such as chest pains, stomach pains, high fevers for longer then a few days, difficulty breathing, sudden and severe headaches, or seizures.
- Acute trauma, including broken bones, head injuries, car accidents, uncontrollable bleeding,
Whether you suffer a serious injury or are experiencing symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, you should get emergency treatment.
Urgent care centers and walk-in clinics are great options if you can’t wait for your primary doctor. Sometimes your doctor may be booked for days, weeks, or months at a time. Perhaps you need to get medical care on the weekend or after-hours. Certain symptoms and conditions simply can’t wait but don’t necessarily justify a trip to the emergency room. Potential reasons for getting urgent care include:
- Cold or flu symptoms, such as a cough, sore throat, ear pain, and nasal drainage.
- Sprains and strains.
- Minor cuts.
- Minor burns.
- Nausea or vomiting.
An urgent care facility can also provide X-rays and stitches if necessary. In most instances, the cost of going to an urgent care center will be less than an emergency room visit, but you should always determine whether the center accepts your health insurance plan before going.
Primary Care Doctor
You should always contact your doctor’s office first if you’re in a non-emergency situation. Your doctor knows your in-depth medical history and will be able to assist you with everything listed above in the Urgent Care section. Plus, your doctor will promote your health and conduct preventive screenings. This is the most cost-effective option, so if you can wait to see your primary physician, you should do this instead of going to urgent care.
You can receive health care in various places, but it’s ideal to get it from your primary doctor when possible. This usually costs less and takes less time than urgent care or the emergency room. For more health tips from Sackett Insurance, like our Facebook page.