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What's the difference between an Urgent Care and ER?

You’re cutting potatoes and you accidentally slice your thumb. The pain isn’t terrible, but the cut looks deep. It’s bleeding badly. So, what do you do? Do you visit your local emergency room (ER)? Or head to the nearest urgent care center?

This is a type of dilemma many people face. Urgent care centers are popping up across the country, but most people don’t know what makes them different from emergency rooms. When should you head straight to an ER?

Let’s get to the bottom of these questions.

When to go to an Urgent Care

Urgent care centers like All Valley Urgent Care are perfect for most non-emergency situations. They’re also ideal if something happens outside of normal business hours of 9 to 5. For example, most of our clinics are open until 8:00 pm on weekdays and open on weekends, when most doctors’ offices are typically closed. Be sure to check the location hours.

You should visit an urgent care center if you experience any of the following:

  • Minor fractures

  • X-rays

  • Back pain

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

  • Minor headaches

  • Blood work

  • Bumps, cuts, and scrapes

  • Fever

  • Ear or sinus pain

  • Vaccinations

  • Cough or sore throat

  • Lab services

  • Animal bites

  • Stitches

  • Sprains and strains

  • Mild asthma

  • Foreign objects in the eyes or nose

  • Allergies

  • Rashes and minor burns

  • Burning with urination

  • Eye irritation, swelling, or pain

  • Minor allergic reactions

  • Cold or flu symptoms

But the ER can treat these too? Why go to an Urgent Care?

  1. 90% of urgent care patients wait 30 minutes or less to see a provider. All Valley Urgent Care has an online waitlist feature that automatically tells you the expected wait upon arrival and online check-in.

  2. 84% of urgent care patients are in and out within an hour.

  3. Walk-ins are welcome, and there’s no need to schedule an appointment ahead of time, though doing so can get you in and out more quickly.

  4. Urgent care is more affordable. An ambulance ride to an ER can cost around $1,200 or more!

  5. Urgent care can be found in convenient, nearby locations like shopping centers and commercial plazas.

  6. Most urgent care centers take insurance. All Vally Urgent Care is in-network with most major insurance providers, Medicare, Medicaid, worker’s compensation, and motor vehicle insurance. We even partner with businesses.

When should I got to an ER?

Emergency rooms are perfect for emergency situations. If you have a life-threatening condition, go straight to your nearest ER. Such conditions include:

  • Chest pain

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Stroke

  • Head trauma

  • Severe bleeding

  • Loss of vision

The difference between urgent care and emergency rooms is the severity of the health problem. If the condition is life-threatening, go to an emergency room.

If the condition is a minor illness or injury, take advantage of the convenience and affordability your local All Valley Urgent Care!


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