When an accident happens and someone gets hurt, the injured person has the option to go to an emergency room (ER), or an urgent care center. An urgent care center provides medical services to those that are in need of medical care that is not life-threatening. Life-threatening injuries or illnesses should always be treated at an ER. For example, if you are in an auto accident and suffer great injuries, or if you think you are having a heart attack, it is best to go directly to an emergency room, not an urgent care facility. Many times emergency medical personnel responding to your call will take you to an ER automatically.
Some of the typical ailments that may be considered treatable by an urgent care facility include sprained ankles, muscle strains, breathing difficulties, fever or flu, severe sore throat, and skin irritations. Most of the time, these conditions do not require a visit to the ER and can be treated at an urgent care center. However, if a person goes to an urgent care facility and it is determined that his or her condition requires an ER visit, the professionals at these facilities will arrange transportation to an ER. Some conditions are not treatable at urgent care centers.
Another difference between the two is that emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whereas urgent care facilities are open and available during the center's regular working hours. Most major medical facilities offer urgent care treatment and services. If you visit a particular medical center regularly, it would be a good idea to check to see if it provides urgent care to its patrons.