Everyone will experience abdominal pain sometime in their life. Whether you ate too many rich foods or you forgot to take Lactaid before you ate that macaroni and cheese, a little stomach ache is nothing to be worried about. But when does abdominal pain become cause for an emergency room visit? Knowing the difference between common stomach pain and a medical emergency could make all the difference in your health.
When is it time for an emergency room visit?
If you're experiencing severe, unrelenting pain anywhere in your abdomen, you could be facing a number of conditions. In addition, if your abdomen is sensitive to the touch or if your pain is radiating out (particularly to your back), it could be a sign of a medical emergency. You should also be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
If you experience any of these symptoms in addition to your abdominal pain, it's important to contact your doctor or request emergency services immediately.
Does severity matter?
Severity and location are two of the most important factors to consider when determining if your abdominal pain constitutes a medical emergency. For example, lower abdominal pain that's mild to moderate in severity could be a result of menstrual cramps, a urinary tract infection, or even indigestion. All of these issues can be treated with ease at an urgent care facility or by your primary care physician.
On the other hand, pain that is so severe you can't sit or stand up straight is much more concerning. If you're experiencing severe pain in your lower right abdomen, for example, you may be dealing with appendicitis. This is a serious and deadly medical issue that requires an emergency room visit as soon as possible.
In most cases, abdominal pain isn't severe enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. In fact, only 3% of patients who go to urgent care for issues like this are redirected to the emergency department. The most important thing you can do if you're experiencing abdominal pain is pay close attention to your symptoms and be honest about them with your medical provider.
During a medical situation, it can be difficult to know where to go to get the proper treatment. With 24-hour urgent care locations all over the Plano, TX area, determining what illness or ailment should be treated at urgent care versus an emergency room can be tricky.
According to a recent study, 44 to 65% of all emergency room visits could have instead been treated at an urgent care facility. While these statistics prove that more people need to think about the difference between these two facilities, there are definitely appropriate times to seek out treatment at the nearest ER.
Many people associate emergency rooms with long wait times and more expensive visits, so they choose to go to a 24-hour urgent care location where they can find a convenient quality and cost. But still, it’s important to pay attention to the urgency of the medical situation at hand.
For example, a prolonged fever of 100-101 might constitute a visit to urgent care, but once the fever reaches 103, it’s time to go to the emergency room. While abdominal pains may be fully treatable at an urgent care facility, chest pains should be treated at an emergency room.
A 2016 report from the Urgent Care Association of America revealed the illnesses most commonly treated at urgent care centers. These included acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis, acute pharyngitis, cough, and acute respiratory infection.
A simple flu treatment can definitely be treated at an urgent care clinic, but severe health problems that are a cause of great concern, such as shortness of breath, should skip the urgent care and go straight to the ER.
Lucky for you, Legacy ER provides both an urgent and an emergency care clinic, which we like to call convenient care. Here, you don’t have to choose between two places in a medical situation since we have the resources and care for all medical needs, whether it’s a fever or chest pain. Our unique hybrid model helps you get to us faster instead of spending time choosing which facility to go to.
We’ve got you covered no matter what your medical situation is. For more information on our healthcare services, feel free to call us today.
Most people know that we're approaching a bit of crisis with our healthcare system. In 2009, there was a drop in medical school seniors picking "family medicine" as their specialty. Luckily, there's been an upswing in "convenient care" -- between urgent care centers, walk-in clinics located in pharmacies, and other pop-up type clinics. Whether you have itchy eyes, a weird skin rash, or a broken wrist, you can seek out urgent care and get it checked out -- no worries if you can't get in to see your primary care physician or you're far from home. Some urgent cares are also partnered or linked with an emergency room as well, so patients don't have to make a split second decision on where to head -- they can find the appropriate care under one roof.
What Can Be Treated at Urgent Care?
According to the 2016 Benchmarking Report from the Urgent Care Association of America, some of the most common diagnoses at urgent care centers in 2015 were acute upper respiratory infection, acute sinusitis, acute pharyngitis, cough, and acute bronchitis. Itchy eyes, bad allergies, abdominal pain, high fevers, minor broken bones or sprains, urinary tract infections, and other minor illnesses can all be taken care of at urgent care centers.
Some urgent care centers may also be able to do X-rays and all can send samples off to labs for a more formal report and diagnosis, as well as prescribe the necessary medicine for you to pick up at a pharmacy.
You might also be able to use urgent care if you need a physical or exam -- whether it's for sports, traveling abroad, or back-to-school. Do keep in mind it's important to keep your primary care physician apprised of all developments. Urgent care shouldn't substitute for your doctor, but they're great in a pinch!
Why Is Convenient Care So Important?
Illnesses and injuries don't wait for a convenient time -- in fact, they often happen at the most inconvenient time. Convenient care allows us to handle health issues as they happen and get the care you need in the interim, before you see your doctor again.
For example, if you have uncontrollably itchy eyes, you probably don't want to wait however long it takes for you to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get treatment, but it's not exactly a life-threatening emergency either. This is where urgent care comes in.
Convenient care is designed to meet you where you're at -- with affordable prices (most urgent care centers work with various insurances), low wait times (most urgent care centers will have you seen and taken care of within an hour), and extended hours (most are open earlier or later than standard office hours and may have weekend or holiday hours as well).
They know life doesn't wait for you to feel better, so you shouldn't have to wait either! Even better, there are a variety of urgent care centers all across the country, so there's one likely very close to you.
What are the Benefits of Having Urgent Care and Emergency Care Under One Roof?
Generally, urgent care centers and emergency rooms operate separately. However, there's been a bit of a shift, and some have joined forces, which is in some cases, extremely beneficial to the patient. Not all health issues are as clear cut as itchy eyes or a really bad migraine. In some cases, a patient might not be sure whether their ailment is urgent or a real emergency.
For example, if a patient is experiencing shortness of breath, they might be unsure whether this is a symptom of something much larger that needs immediate care. In this case, having both an urgent care center and emergency room under the same roof relieves the patient of choice and lets the medical professional make that call.
Knowing where your local urgent care center is -- and taking advantage of it! -- can be another excellent resource for you and your family when you need urgent medical care.
Legacy ER & Urgent Care
Legacy pioneered retail healthcare in 2008 and is now ranks in the top 1% of global retailers for customer service.
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