Travel and rescue, USA: Urgent care vs. emergency room, what is the difference?

If you want or need to travel to the USA, you should be aware of an important difference in emergency care, that between urgent care centres and emergency rooms

In an emergency, knowing how they differ can make the difference between life and death.

Urgent care centres are popping up in every state in the US, but most people do not know what differentiates them from emergency rooms.

When is it necessary to go directly to the emergency room? When can you go to Urgent Care centres?

USA, when to go to Urgent Care Centres

Urgent care centres are perfect for most non-emergency situations.

They are also ideal if something occurs outside of normal 9 to 5 hours.

For example, most Urgent Care clinics are open until 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m. on weekends, when most doctors’ offices are usually closed.

You should go to an Urgent Care clinic if one of the following cases occurs:

  • Minor fractures
  • X-rays
  • Back pain
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Minor headaches
  • Blood tests
  • Bumps, cuts and scratches
  • fever
  • Pain in the ears or sinuses
  • Vaccinations
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Laboratory services
  • Animal bites
  • Stitches
  • Sprains and strains
  • Mild asthma
  • Foreign objects in the eyes or nose
  • Allergies
  • Skin rashes and minor burns
  • Burning during urination
  • Irritation, swelling or pain in the eyes
  • Minor allergic reactions
  • Cold or flu symptoms

Emergency Room in the USA may be more appropriate for infants and young children

You might think that the emergency room can treat these problems as well.

In reality, US emergency rooms suffer, as in other places in the world, from the overload that can occur at certain times.

The emergency room is perfect for emergency situations.

If you have a life-threatening condition, go directly to the nearest emergency room

Such conditions include

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stroke
  • Head trauma
  • Severe haemorrhage
  • Loss of vision

The difference between emergency and urgent care is the severity of the health problem.

If the condition is life-threatening, go to the emergency room.

If, on the other hand, you need urgent but not life-threatening care, an urgent care centre in the US can solve your problem more quickly and effectively.

And, pardon the pun, make sure you are insured!

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What To Expect In The Emergency Room (ER)

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