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Urgent Vs. Emergency: Understanding the Medical Differences - Legacy ER

Urgent Vs. Emergency: Understanding the Medical Differences - Legacy ER

When you feel physically ill, you probably want nothing more than to be back to your normal self again. You might make an appointment with your doctor or try some home remedies. Maybe you head to your closest urgent care location if your doctor is unavailable or you feel particularly under the weather and want to be seen quickly. But when something is really wrong, you might start to panic. You might think you should make the pilgrimage to the ER; even though you don’t feel your life is in danger, you feel like emergency staff will be in the best position to help you.

While it’s certainly better to be safe than sorry, it’s times like these when it’s helpful to be able to recognize the emergency vs non-emergency signs. If you’re able to differentiate a true medical emergency from a situation that requires urgent treatment, you can potentially save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some of the most common examples of urgent medical situations and emergency scenarios. But of course, if you’re ever unsure as to whether it’s an emergency vs non-emergency, you should err on the side of caution and go to an emergency center (ideally, one that also has an urgent care clinic in-house!).

Emergency Vs Non-Emergency: Common Examples

Emergencies: Severe injuries or potentially life-threatening conditions are designated as medical emergencies. Symptoms might include troubled breathing, large wounds with unstoppable bleeding, severe burns, seizures, high fevers, severe abdominal or chest pain, signs of a concussion or head injury, vomiting or coughing up blood, potential poisoning, severe bone fractures or breaks, numbness, sudden confusion, and other conditions that seem severe or have a sudden onset. Those who experience these symptoms should opt for emergency room visits in lieu of going to urgent care or their doctors’ offices.

Non-Emergencies: People go to urgent care clinics all the time for situations that should be treated quickly but that are not life-threatening. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, the most common illnesses diagnosed at these centers in 2015 included cough, acute upper respiratory infections, and acute sinusitis. Urgent care clinics are an appropriate choice for illnesses and injuries like ear infections, pink eye, UTIs, rashes, simple wounds or minor burns, allergies, colds, flu treatment, strep throat, minor strains or fractures, and gastrointestinal illnesses. Essentially, these are conditions that are not true emergencies but that should be treated within 24 hours for best results.

Knowing the Difference Between Emergency Vs Non-Emergency is Critical

In the midst of a health crisis, it can be tough to know where to go for treatment. After all, you don’t want to make a costly mistake that could result in making matters worse. But if you’re able to take an honest assessment of symptoms and determine whether it’s truly a life-threatening scenario or can be treated at a walk-in clinic, you’ll be more likely to receive the treatment you actually need in a shorter time frame.

That said, you don’t always have to make that choice. If you opt for a unique treatment center that houses both an ER and an urgent care clinic, you’ll be in good hands no matter what. This can make it substantially easier to receive the right treatment quickly and at an affordable price. To find out more about what makes our center special and how we can help you, please contact us today.