Knowing When to Visit the Emergency Room

Every day, countless Americans young and old alike will need professional medical care, and some cases are more extreme than others. So, when someone is hurt or ill, it is vital that a nearby person can look up local emergency care centers, hospitals, or urgent care centers (also known as walk in clinics). Some urgent care clinics are in fact open 24 hours a day, and if a victim needs help at an odd time of day, a nearby person can look up “24 hour walk in clinics near me” and find the name and address of such a facility. And if the patient is in more dire condition, mere convenient care cannot help them; it is time for 24 hour emergency care. But what are reasons to go to the emergency room? This is important to know, since urgent care can’t handle major medical cases and an emergency clinic is too expensive for minor wounds. Keeping emergency and urgent care distinct is important.

Reasons to Go to the Emergency Room

What are some typical reasons to go to the emergency room? Most often, a patient will need this level of care if their life is in danger, and this can result from injury, illnesses, or even allergic reactions to something. For example, reasons to go to the emergency room include a broken arm or leg, or if the patient has suffered injuries to their head or their eyeballs. The same is true if the patient has suffered from stab wounds or bullet wounds that are bleeding heavily, and there might be internal organ damage as well. Difficulty breathing and chest pain also count among reasons to go to the emergency room, since these conditions may soon turn life threatening at any moment, if they are not already. A patient who just suffered a heart attack or a stroke will also need emergency care right away.

What about abdominal pain? Such pain is often actually harmless, but if the pain is severe, sudden, and/or long lasting, then the victim may need emergency care, since the underlying cause might be serious (such as internal bleeding or even cancer).

As stated above, emergency clinics and hospital ERs are best reserved for patients in life threatening condition, as minor health issues are better off being treated at urgent care clinics instead. It is expensive and time consuming (and unnecessary) to visit the ER for a minor medical issue, but if it is not clear what level of care a victim needs, a hybrid clinic can help. These clinics offer both urgent and emergency care side by side, making them quite flexible as they can take in many different patients. Those hybrid clinics might appear both on searches for urgent care and emergency care.

All About Urgent Care

The emergency room is both expensive and time consuming to visit, but same isn’t true for urgent care. In fact, this industry is known as “convenient care” since these clinics are common, easy to find, and offer quick and (typically) affordable care. Over 2,000 of these clinics can be found across the United States today, and they tend to be small and independent clinics, though they may sometimes form small local networks with each other. Often, these walk in clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can handle non life-threatening issues among patients. Often, a patient can expect a wait time of around 15 minutes or so, and many clinic accept healthcare insurance policies. Many clinics are built into strip malls, and others might be found in large retailers for the convenience of shoppers.

Many of these urgent care clinics have a pharmacy built into them, and this is where guests can pick up prescription drug refills. Also, four in five walk in clinics can offer treatment for bone fractures, and nearly all of them can provide splints and braces to help with ankle or wrist sprains among patients. The nurses on staff can provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, and these staff members can also provide lotion and ointment for bad cases of rashes or sunburns. It is also common to visit these walk in clinics to get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu during influenza season.