The names “urgent care” and “emergency care” can cause confusion for some people about when to seek one and when to seek the other. Urgent care generally covers milder health problems than emergency care, but those problems still require care soon after they arise and often can’t wait a few days for an appointment.
Compared to the emergency room, urgent care centers involve much lower wait times for non-life-threatening acute complications. You can see your physician shortly after you arrive, and they have time to spend with you for an evaluation and any tests you need.
Here at Westmed Family Healthcare in Westminster, Colorado, our board-certified providers Clifton Etienne, MD, Michael Cavanagh, MD, and Flora Brewington, MD, can give you the tests and treatment you need when you arrive for urgent care, or direct you to the emergency room if it’s the more suitable option for your health concern.
Here’s what you can go to urgent care for:
Acute illnesses and infections
Acute illnesses and infections are ailments that only last for a short time. While many get better even without treatment, some can get worse with time and lead to health complications that are much more severe. That’s why it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis during an urgent care visit and receive the treatment you need.
Common illnesses your urgent care providers can treat include:
- Common cold
- Strep throat
- Stomach flu
- Urinary tract infections
Some of these illnesses are curable, but others go away on their own. If your condition doesn’t have a cure, certain medications and treatments can relieve your symptoms as you recover.
Minor injuries are also treatable with urgent care. Rather than waiting to see an emergency physician for a broken finger or minor cut as they treat a series of life- and limb-threatening injuries first, you can see your physician in the order you arrive at the urgent care office with minimal waiting time. This means less discomfort, less waiting, and more attentive care.
A few examples of minor injuries that an urgent care provider can treat are:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken fingers
- Broken toes
Your urgent care providers can treat issues like these right away. They can clean your wound, close a cut or laceration with stitches, or tape a musculoskeletal injury to keep it stable. All of this can happen during your visit.
Tests and services
Urgent care centers offer tests and services that evaluate your health. Even if you’re not sick or experiencing symptoms, you can come in for tests like sexually transmitted disease (STD) tests or COVID-19 tests if you know or think you’ve been exposed.
Whether you get tests for diagnostic or screening services, an urgent care center can help you interpret and understand the results of your tests as soon as they’re available.
You can also get vaccinations and boosters at an urgent care center as well as other preventive care services like physical examinations.
Have any more questions?
Some injuries and illnesses are serious, but it’s hard to tell if you should go to the emergency room or are better off in an urgent care setting. Schedule an appointment over the phone or online at Westmed Family Healthcare for same-day care today.