Every so often, Americans young and old will need professional medical attention, and local urgent care centers, emergency care centers, and more can provide that sort of care. But it may be noted that while “urgent” and “emergency” may sound similar, they describe two different types of care that are not to be confused. These urgent care centers can take care of non life-threatening illnesses or wounds, while an emergency room is best for major illnesses or injuries that may threaten a life. When a victim needs care, a responsible adult may look online to find urgent care centers, pediatric urgent care sites, or a hospital with a smartphone or a PC if they need to. The query may specify urgent care centers vs emergency care centers, and may include the seeker’s ZIP code to keep the results local. If the search is being made at an odd time of day, the client may look for “24 hour urgent care centers” in particular, and take the victim there.
Getting Emergency Care
As mentioned above, emergency care is for life-threatening and serious medical cases that are too much for urgent care clinics to handle. Often, such care is found in a hospital’s ER or at emergency clinics, where trained doctors and physicians can use the right medicine and surgical tools to get a patient out of danger.
What calls for emergency care in particular? A patient who has broken arms or legs will certainly need this sort of care, and a patient with major wounds from trauma such as gunshots or stabs will need care for heavy bleeding and possibly internal organ damage, too. A patient with head or eyeball injuries may also need emergency care, and the same is true of chest pain or difficulty breathing. Such conditions may soon turn life threatening at a moment’s notice, if they aren’t already, and only emergency care can handle it. The same is true if a patient has suffered a recent heart attack or stroke. And what about abdominal pain? Most abdominal pain is in fact fairly harmless, such as from indigestion or gas. But if the abdominal pain is serious, sudden, or lasts a long time, it is time for emergency care. Such pain may come from something serious, such as a burst appendix or internal bleeding.
Emergency care can save a life, but it shouldn’t be treated as a catch-all for any medical case. Only serious cases call for it, and minor health issues only require urgent care. Besides, urgent care clinics are often much cheaper and faster to get medical help from, which is a major convenience for any guest. It may be noted, though, that some medical clinics today are a hybrid model, meaning they offer urgent and emergency care side by side. This is helpful if it is not clear what level of care a patient might need.
Urgent care is often known as convenient care, and for a reason. These urgent care centers can be found across the United States in great numbers, and cities and towns may have at least a few that patients may visit at any time. Most often, these are small and independent clinics run by nurse practitioners and physicians, though such clinics sometimes form small local networks with one another. Often, they are built into strip malls for convenient access, though some can be built into retailers or even hospitals. Retail clinics usually have a pharmacy and trained pharmacists on hand, very convenient for shoppers who want to pick up a prescription drug refill. And hospital clinics, one should note, offer separate care from the hospital around it.
Many patients visit urgent care centers so that they can get stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, such as if the patient had stepped on broken glass. Patients may also get lotion and ointment for nasty rashes or sunburn, such as in a clinic near a beach. Four in five clinics offer treatment for bone fractures, and most can also take care of sprained wrists or ankles. During influenza season, patients may visit to get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu, and upper respiratory issues are a common reason to visit these clinics, too.