In 2018, a staggering 130 million people visited the emergency room for various medical issues. Among these, 27%, roughly 35 million, were related to injuries, and 12.4% (16.2 million) were hospital admissions. That’s a lot of people seeking immediate medical attention! Emergency care isn’t the best option for every health issue.
Doctors have covered you, whether it’s a pesky headache, respiratory infection, a nagging backache, constipation, or nausea. However, you have two options, depending on what health issues you’ve faced with and their intensity. You can choose primary care for something like a rash or urgent care if you are having problems breathing.
Primary and urgent care are two types of healthcare services catering to different needs. It is essential to understand how each of them works so that you know what to choose and when.
Primary care is the first point of contact for most patients seeking medical attention. Usually, it is when they need to see a doctor about the flu, headache, stomach pain, etc. Apart from curing, this type of ongoing healthcare focuses on preventative medicine like routine check-ups and managing chronic conditions.
Primary care providers, such as family doctors, pediatricians, and internists, work with patients to manage their overall health and wellness. The clinic or physician often provides a broad range of services, including physical exams, immunizations, screening tests, and treatment for common illnesses and conditions.
An increasing number of these providers have also started helping patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure. The physician may also coordinate their care with specialists when necessary. In essence, primary care is the foundation of a patient’s healthcare journey, providing comprehensive and personalized care to meet their unique needs.
Urgent care is a type of medical care that provides immediate treatment in the event of medical urgencies. These are times that require prompt attention, but often, the issue isn’t necessarily life-threatening. Urgent care clinics are often open for extended hours and on weekends, making them a convenient option for patients who need care outside regular office hours.
In the US, urgent care centers usually have diagnostic tools like X-rays and lab tests, enabling providers to diagnose and treat patients quickly. In essence, urgent care is an essential resource for patients who need prompt medical attention but do not require emergency services.
When Should You Visit An Urgent Care Doctor?
As mentioned earlier, urgent care doctors will address medical issues that aren’t life-threatening. However, these are health problems that require attention ASAP. Yes, if you were wondering, you can get urgent care from a primary care physician if you are on vacation or perhaps if the urgent care physician is fully booked.
Urgent care centers will usually handle quite a few things, for instance:
- Minor fractures, sprains, and strains from accidents or falls
- Broken bones in the hands and feet
- Small cuts requiring stitches
- Digestive issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration
- Eye infections and minor eye injuries
- Skin irritations and rashes
- Insect bites and minor animal bites
- Allergic reactions to food, medications, or environmental factors
- Common vaccinations for flu, tetanus, and other illnesses
- Mild breathing difficulties such as asthma attacks
- Fevers, sore throats, and other common viral infections
- Infections such as UTIs, ear infections, and strep throat
- Abdominal pain and mild gastrointestinal issues
- Moderate back problems and other minor musculoskeletal pain
The benefit of urgent care for patients is that the centers are usually open 24/7 and will not require an appointment to walk in for treatment. Plus, they offer a quick diagnosis and, if needed, speedy pain relief, which is an excellent alternative to waiting for your turn at a primary care clinic or probably waiting in line at an emergency room.
Visiting A Primary Care Doctor
You can visit a primary care doctor for just about anything that does not need urgent attention. However, it is worth remembering that all primary care doctors may not be equal. The facilities they have may also vary. That’s why it is so important to find and choose a primary care doctor that specializes in what you are looking for and has the facilities needed.
It is also worth noting that your primary care doctor may refer you to a specialist for some things. This is standard practice in the medical community, especially if the medical condition they face needs a closer inspection by a specialist to determine the best course of action.
When Urgent and Primary Care May Not Work?
These may not work or be the right choice if you are dealing with a life-threatening medical emergency. You will want to call 911 in the US and be taken to the nearest emergency room.
For problems like knife or gunshot wounds, severe fractures, uncontrollable bleeding, etc., the emergency room and the medical professionals that work there are the only people who can help you.
It is essential to act fast because many of these emergencies can endanger your life or that of a loved one. So, it is best to save time departing and getting rushed to the nearest emergency ward.
Chau Medical Group Helps You Get The Care You Need When You Need It
The choice between primary care and urgent care may be simple enough. However, depending on the situation, you may need to make that choice sooner rather than later.
At Chau Medical Group, we are a family-run medical clinic located in Orlando. We have a team of seasoned professionals with certifications and accreditations from some of the leading institutions in the US. Most of all, we have a pharmacy, EKG, blood test, and preventive screening facilities. Plus, we help patients cope with a myriad of medical problems in the most professional manner with the intention of getting them back to the way they should be ASAP. Get in touch with us today and let us take care of you and your family!