Urgent Care vs Emergency Room: When To Use Each

When an emergency strikes, it can be difficult to think on your feet. And deciding between an urgent care vs an emergency room can be tricky.

That’s why it is so important to understand the differences between urgent care and an emergency room. By knowing these differences, you can make better, more informed healthcare decisions that will lead to better health outcomes.

Understanding Urgent Care vs Emergency Room

Both urgent care centers and emergency rooms play important roles in modern healthcare. But if you do not know the differences between them, you may miss out on some of their benefits.

Emergency rooms are more widely understood and service a wider variety of ailments. Your local emergency room is open 24/7 and is well staffed with MDs, PAs, and nurses. Also, the emergency room has immediate access to other hospital departments like radiology and surgery. This makes emergency rooms ideal to handle true medical emergencies. 

An urgent care, on the other hand, aims to provide fast medical care for non-emergency issues. Urgent cares are generally open for 10-12 hours a day and are staffed with healthcare providers, medical assistants, and x-ray technicians. One element that makes urgent care clinics extremely helpful is the ability to get an appointment as a walk in.

When You Should Go To Urgent Care

A visit to urgent care is perfect for when you need fast treatment in a non-life threatening situation. A good way to think about urgent care is being a step above a visit to a primary care physician and a step below an emergency room visit. Below is a list of ailments that an urgent care can help with immediately:

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • UTIs
  • Minor breaks and sprains
  • Dehydration
  • Mild asthma symptoms
  • Moderate back or muscle pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Animal bites
  • Minor cuts requiring stitches
  • Earaches and infections

When You Should Go To An Emergency Room

While an urgent care can serve a variety of needs, an emergency room is meant for ailments that are more serious. If your symptoms are life-threatening in nature or could escalate to that point, you should go immediately to an emergency room. Below is a list of ailments that warrant an emergency room visit:

  • Chest pain
  • Head injuries
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Compound fractures
  • Issues with pregnancy
  • Blurred vision

Getting Treatment with Live Urgent Care

If your symptoms can be treated by an urgent care, Live Urgent Care has clinics across New Jersey. You can book an appointment online or walk in at any of our locations for fast, friendly service.

Learn more about how our urgent care centers can help or find our location nearest you.

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