Urgent Care vs Emergency Room

Urgent Care vs Emergency Room

by Stephanie Meadows

When you or a loved one are sick or injured, deciding where to get care is the last thing you want to be worrying about, as it can be a stressful experience. Understanding your options now will make decision time easier when you need immediate care. Your primary doctor is the best place to start when you're sick or hurt. They know your health history, including any underlying conditions you may have. When you visit your doctor for an illness or injury, they can make informed choices about your treatment and necessary tests. However, what if you get sick or injured when your doctor's office is closed, or you cannot schedule an appointment for several weeks?

Urgent Care:

Urgent care centers are usually open after normal business hours, including evenings and weekends. Many offer on-site diagnostic tests. and, in most situations, you'll find that you save time and money by going to urgent care instead of an emergency room. If your condition isn’t life-threatening but needs to be taken care of right away, then urgent care may be the right choice for you. Urgent care can help you with common conditions such as:

  • Flu and cold
  • Coughs and sore throat
  • High fevers
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
  • Cuts and severe scrapes
  • Broken bones
  • Minor injuries and burns
  • Sports injuries

Emergency Room:

The Emergency Room (ER), is a place to go for true medical emergencies, and is open 24-hours a day seven days a week. While the ER can help care for any medical situation, it can become very expensive. The ER costs an average of three times more than a visit to the urgent care. In a non life-threatening situation, you can most likely be treated at an urgent care. If you have a true emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room immediately.

Emergency rooms can handle trauma, X-rays, and surgical procedures. Visit the ER for care when you experience any of the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Animal bites
  • Broken bones
  • Chest pain
  • Constant vomiting
  • Continuous bleeding
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Deep wounds
  • Weakness or pain in a leg or arm
  • Head injuries

Orthopedic and sports-related injuries don’t always happen during weekday office hours, and there is never a good time for an injury or accident. Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland now offers walk-in urgent care for orthopedic injuries when you need it most. Open Friday from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at our Columbia office, we offer urgent care services for minor acute orthopedic injuries such as simple fractures, sprains, strains, muscle spasms, and more.

It's a good idea to know where the closest emergency room and urgent care centers are, so you know where to go at a moment’s notice. Call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880  to have our doctors address all your health concerns.