When to go to urgent care

Two women smilingWhenever an illness or injury occurs, you need to decide how serious it is and how soon to get medical care. This will help you choose whether it is best to call your doctor, go to an urgent care center, or go to an emergency department right away.

If you have a problem that is not life threatening or leads to risk of disability, but you are concerned and you cannot see your doctor soon enough, go to an urgent care center. The kinds of problems an urgent care center can treat include:

Signs of an emergency

Generally, an emergency is a condition that may threaten an individual's life or cause impairment. If your medical problem is life-threatening, call 911 immediately and care will be provided at the nearest emergency room. However, ER visits should be reserved for true emergencies, such as life-threatening accidents or chest pain. A visit to the ER without an actual emergency can be costly and inefficient, and detract medical care from individuals who truly need emergency care.

Common situations needing emergency care:

Prepare now

Before you have a medical problem, learn what your choices are. Check the website of your health insurance company. Put these telephone numbers in the memory of your phone:

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