Urgent Care: An ER alternative

Sometimes when people experience a medical problem, their first thought is “Let’s head to the emergency room.” But unless the problem is life-threatening, visiting an Urgent Care clinic instead of an emergency room can be a smart choice.

Because of their convenience and availability – and as easy to find as your most recent edition of the Yellow Pages – Urgent Care clinics have become popular in recent years. Most Urgent Care centers are equipped to handle a wide variety of medical situations, ranging from sore throats and earaches all the way to burns, sprains and broken bones. Urgent Care clinics also typically feature extended hours and weekend availability, and may be as close as your corner shopping center.

Most Urgent Care facilities have the equipment to perform lab work, and many have computerized X-ray equipment on-site, ready for use. Urgent Care clinics can also perform diagnostic tests for conditions ranging from strep and flu to pregnancy, and all have the ability to issue any necessary prescriptions.

So how do you decide between visiting the emergency room and Urgent Care? If the situation is life-threatening, visit the emergency room or call 9-1-1. On the other hand, if you “need to be seen” but the situation is not life-threatening, a visit to Urgent Care can provide the medical care you need just as quickly, all while helping to keep costs from getting out of control.

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