Health 5Sometimes, you know that you need medical care immediately. However, your problem isn’t life-threatening, so you really don’t want to spend the money at the emergency room. If you cannot get into your physician’s office, the solution is an urgent care center. Learn more about the types of care provided by an urgent care facility and how to decide where to go when you need treatment.

The Definition of an Urgent Care Center

An urgent care center offers outpatient service for acute and chronic illness and injury. It doesn’t replace your own doctor, but on the weekend or after hours, you can be seen very quickly to get medical attention for a number of different problems. This type of facility may feel much like your family physician’s office, and your insurance may cover it at the same co-pay.

Be Prepared

When you go to an urgent care center, take your medication with you so that you can inform the facility of your complete medical profile. Unlike your doctor who has your records, the urgent care center will not have access to your allergies or past problems. According to Prime Urgent Care, a Pearland Urgent Care center, don’t forget vitamins and over the counter medicine that you take, as some may interfere with treatment.

Deciding Between Urgent Care and the Emergency Room

Urgent care is not the same as emergency care. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know which place to go for treatment. When in doubt, it’s better to be safe and go to the emergency room. You shouldn’t drive if you are experiencing chest pains or having difficulty breathing. Ask yourself, “if my doctor’s office was open, would I make an appointment to be seen by my physician?” Urgent care centers take care of the same types of problems, such as a fever, diarrhea, painful urination, or a severe sunburn.

Often, you can call your doctor’s office and get assistance to know whether you should seek immediate medical assistance at the emergency room or an urgent care center. Another resource is your insurance company. Many offer a 24-hour hotline staffed by a nurse who help you make sure to find the correct care.

When you arrive at the urgent care center, the staff will ask you about your presenting problem. If you do require greater care than they can provide, you will be directed to the proper healthcare facility to get the correct treatment. If it is a true emergency, they may transfer you to the ER by an ambulance to ensure your safety.

Save Money and Time

If you have children, you understand the need for immediate treatment when one of them has an ear ache or a sprain. They don’t always get hurt or sick when your family doctor is available. According to Prime Urgent Care (, an urgent care center fills the gap so that you can find the care to get better quickly when you require immediate medical assistance.

The urgent care facility will cost significantly less than that of an emergency room, and you will most likely get in and out quicker. When you go to the ER, they have to take care of the most severe problems first, which means that you may have to wait a long time for your turn. Because the urgent care center deals with less serious problems, it is typically a first come, first serve basis. You get treated in turn, so that you can get back home quicker, with a lower overall cost than if you went to the ER.