When Should I Go to Urgent Care?

Not all illnesses and injuries need professional medical attention. Your body has a fantastic  ability to heal itself under most circumstances. Of course, in extreme situations, emergency care is critical, and the only way to save your life. 

But if you’re like most people, you occasionally experience a condition or symptom that makes you wonder whether you should treat yourself at home, make an appointment with your regular physician, or head to the emergency room. But there’s a fourth choice many people don’t know about — urgent care.

Dr. Perry Weisman and our team of medical professionals here at WiseCare Urgent Care see patients with bad colds, flu, cuts and bruises, minor fractures, headaches, allergies, infections, unexplained pain, and a long list of other conditions with or without an appointment — even on the weekends. Here are some tips to help you determine if urgent care is the right choice.

Your medical issue is not a life-threatening problem

The first thing you should know about urgent care is that it is NOT for life-threatening emergencies. If you’re having any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately:

Trust your instincts when it comes to your health. If you feel that something is not right and that you might need emergency care, go to the ER, or call for an ambulance.

But if your condition isn’t a life-or-death matter, urgent care is a better choice. Our team is trained to handle a broad range of medical conditions. We use the latest technology to diagnose and treat your injuries and illnesses, including

We can also perform necessary lab tests, such as blood and urine analyses, and prescribe medication, so you get a full-service health care team in one place.

You can’t wait for an appointment with your primary care physician

It always seems to happen: It’s Friday afternoon, and you feel a yeast infection coming on that you know will only worsen over the weekend. But your regular doctor’s office has closed, and you won’t be able to get an appointment until next week. This is a perfect scenario for urgent care. 

While urgent care should never replace your primary doctor’s role, it does serve as a much-needed complement to those services and can provide the care you need when your doctor’s schedule is full.

You have pain after a fall or accident

Again, any injury that threatens life or limb requires emergency medical attention, starting with a call to 911.

But the majority of falls, accidents, and sports injuries result in pain that needs urgent, but not emergency, care. If you have pain in any of your smaller joints and bones, like your wrist, hand, elbow, toe, foot, or ankle, it may be a minor fracture that we can diagnose and treat here at WiseCare Urgent Care.

On the other hand, if you suspect a broken bone in your larger bones and joints (hip, shoulder, knee, leg, or arm), the emergency room is better equipped to set those.

You’re young and have chest pain

Chest pain can be a scary experience because your mind automatically thinks: heart attack. And that’s a healthy concern because a heart attack can happen to anyone, even seemingly healthy people. 

But statistically, if you’re under 55, have no family history of heart disease, and are otherwise healthy, your chest pain is likely caused by something else.

Two common causes of chest pain that aren’t linked to the heart are a pulled muscle (typically from weightlifting) and heartburn or gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). We can help you determine what’s causing your chest pain, develop a treatment plan, or refer you to a specialist if it’s serious.

Advantages of urgent care

The main benefit of urgent care is in our name — when your condition is urgent, we are here for you. Emergency rooms understandably prioritize life-threatening conditions, so you may be waiting there for hours if you go there with a minor problem.

Urgent care facilities typically cost less than emergency rooms, so check with your insurance provider and become familiar with the charges for each type of care.

Think of urgent care as the extra help you need when home remedies aren’t improving your condition, and you can’t get in to see your regular doctor fast enough to get the answers and relief you need. 

When you need care urgently, call us for an appointment at either our Severna Park or Pasadena locations, or reserve a spot in line for our urgent care using the online tool.

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