When it comes to doctors’ visits, sometimes it can be difficult to determine what kind of visit you need. How do you know if you should seek urgent care, a visit with your primary care physician or emergency care at your local emergency room?
Here are a few tips to help you decide.
When to visit a primary care physician
If symptoms are mild and you just want the reassurance of a doctor that everything is OK (no fever, minimal or no bleeding, no severe pain or swelling, no immediate emergencies), you may be able to schedule a visit with your primary care physician where you can discuss concerns and any possible testing or medications needed.
When to seek urgent care
Visit your local U.S. HealthWorks clinic when you have a minor medical condition, such as a sprained ankle or finger laceration. We can treat minor medical conditions before they become life-threatening; and do so at a much lower cost than the ER. Also, wait times at urgent care centers are usually shorter than those at the ER for conditions such as colds, minor cuts and sprains.
We can also help if you are seeking a specialist to provide care for a particular concern or condition. Urgent care physicians are able to make referrals to specialty care departments.
When to go straight to the emergency room
Save the emergency room visits for true emergencies. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is essential that you go straight to the nearest ER. If symptoms arise suddenly and you believe that a life is in jeopardy, call 9-1-1.
- Signs of heart attacks, including chest pain and light headedness, loss of vision
- Signs of stroke, including sudden onset of numbness in the arms or legs, loss of vision or speech, sudden and severe headaches, dizziness
- Unexplained drowsiness or disorientation
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe shortness of breath
- Severe allergic reaction
- A major head injury
- Major life- or limb-threatening injuries
- Severe wounds and amputations
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes of applied pressure
- Suicidal or homicidal thoughts or feelings
Keep these in mind the next time you need medical attention. Understanding the different types of symptoms and illnesses that you may experience as well as the severity of them will help you determine the best course of action. For more information, visit www.ushealthworks.com