Need a Doctor? Top Reasons to Visit Urgent Care vs an Emergency Room

139 million people visited an emergency department in 2017.

Out of all these visits, only 14.5 million resulted in hospital admissions. Many people go to the emergency room for critical medical issues even if they aren’t necessarily serious enough to warrant the visit.

Do you know where to go when seeking medical help? Keep reading to learn when you should go to the urgent care vs emergency room. Make sure you are visiting a doctor with hospital fire safety training just in case there is an emergency.

Go to Urgent Care

It’s difficult to know what you should do or where to go in the face of a medical emergency. Urgent care is where you go when you are sick or injured but your condition is not life-threatening, you likely only need to go to an urgent care center.

What’s Treated

Urgent care clinics such as walk in clinic are equipped to treat minor injuries and mild illnesses, Most centers have radiology equipment, lab testing, and equipment for treating fractures, cuts, and burns. These are some conditions and symptoms that can be treated at an urgent care center:

  • A persistent fever
  • Minor cuts, burns, and bruises
  • Non-life threatening allergic reaction
  • Suspected injuries such as sprained or fractured bones
  • Coughs, colds, and flu symptoms
  • STIs
  • UTIs
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Urgent care is a convenient option for many people as the time spent waiting to be seen by a physician is often shorter and treatment is quicker. Emergency rooms take patients with life-threatening symptoms first so they are seen right away. This means if you go to an ER with a fever or urinary tract infection, you will likely experience long wait times.

Urgent care centers work off of a first-come, first-serve basis. The medical clinic gives you the ability to book or check yourself in online before your appointment so you can be seen faster. Choosing to see a certified medical professional with the aid of a medical assistant at an urgent care center relieves some of the burdens from hospitals and their staff.


The cost to be seen by an urgent care physician is often cheaper than a trip to the ER, with or without insurance.

Many centers offer patients without insurance assistant with their bills, self-pay options, and generic prescriptions.

Go to the Emergency Room

If your condition is more serious, it’s time to go to the emergency room.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, go to the hospital:

  • Sudden paralysis on one side of the body, trouble speaking, and confusion
  • Difficulty breathing, chest pain, and/or shortness of breath
  • Fever, intense abdominal pain, with bloating
  • Deep wounds, major burns, or bad fractures
  • Seizures
  • A sudden change in mental status
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe allergic reactions

It’s critical for you to be able to distinguish between a true emergency and something that doesn’t need to be addressed immediately. Call 911 or have someone drive you to the closest emergency room if you believe your condition is life-threatening. Cedar Point Health dedicates itself to your well-being and health if you are in need of urgent care.


The cost to be seen at an ER is more expensive than an urgent care center.

This price is sometimes unavoidable. Uninsured or underinsured people could face thousands or tens of thousands in medicals bills after a significant injury or illness.

Make the Right Decision: Urgent Care vs Emergency Room

When you are dealing with a medical crisis, you don’t always think straight. You can always contact an emergency ambulance van that will serve as your Hospital at home which provide the highest level of pre-hospital care during an inter-facility transport.

We hope you found this guide on emergency medical care helpful. Choosing between urgent care vs emergency room visits or even to a medical clinic  can be made simple by referring to this guide. When in doubt, always contact your primary care physician.

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