medical equipment in emergency room

When Should I Go to an Emergency Center vs. Urgent Care?

Emergency Centers vs. Urgent Cares

Many patients underestimate the severity of their condition and delay seeking emergent help. While urgent care facilities are well-equipped to handle a variety of conditions, they are not always the best case for medical emergencies. Learn when it's essential for you to head to an ER if you're having a medical incident.

When You Should Visit an Urgent Care

From allergies to the stomach flu, don’t delay medical treatment if you need it. Letting medical issues continue for too long can lead to a worse condition down the road, and seeking treatment from an urgent care facility can help you get the treatment you need.

That being said, urgent care facilities are ideal for non-emergent situations, those who need a last-minute walk-in visit, or for a family that cannot make it to their primary care physician between the hours of 9 and 5.

Some non-emergent conditions that could warrant a trip to an urgent care include:

  • Allergies and asthma.
  • Flu and cold symptoms.
  • X-rays.
  • Stitches.
  • Lab services.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Mild fractures, sprains, and strains.

When You Should Visit an Emergency Room

Though an urgent care facility is equipped to care for many of the reasons why people visit an emergency room, they can’t completely take the place of an ER for life-threatening injuries. If you experience any of the following illnesses, symptoms, or injuries, call 9-1-1 immediately for emergency assistance:

  • Trauma to the head.
  • Severe bleeding.
  • Loss of vision.
  • Chest pain or other signs of a heart attack.
  • Numbness in your arms or legs, or other signs of a stroke.
  • Severe shortness of breath.
  • A life-threatening injury.

Typically, we advise our patients to go to an emergency room if they are facing a life-threatening injury or illness. Most all other illnesses can be cared for at urgent care. However, at EmergiCare Emergency Room, we offer a wide range of emergent and non-emergent services to fully care for our Houston community, including:

COVID-19 Testing

EmergiCare Emergency Room is proud to offer rapid antigen testing for acute illness due to COVID-19 in our community. If you have experienced any of the common symptoms of COVID-19, or believe that you have come in contact with a person who has tested positive, it’s best to be tested.

Rapid Antibody COVID-19 Testing

An antibody (serology) COVID-19 test can tell you if you have been in contact with the novel coronavirus in the past. After infection, it takes about 1-3 weeks to develop antibodies. This test result will indicate that you’ve contracted the virus but are not currently sick, and is not suitable for patients who are currently experiencing symptoms.

Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Testing

A rapid antigen COVID-19 test molecules on the surface of the coronavirus, meaning this test can tell you if you are currently infected with COVID-19. This test is similar in nature to a rapid strep test and has been most commonly used to diagnose patients who may be asymptomatic.

PCR COVID-19 Testing

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test looks for genetic material in your sample that is associated with the novel coronavirus. According to the Texas State Department of Health Services, PCR tests look for pieces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 to determine if the person has an active infection.

Houston 24 Hour Emergency Care at EmergiCare Emergency Room

At EmergiCare Emergency Room, our team is fully equipped to handle a wide variety of major or minor emergency conditions, as well as medical emotional disorders. Our compassionate staff is honest and transparent with all our patients, so you are always well-informed on what services and resources are being provided.

If you need emergency medical attention, please visit our emergency room, call us at (281) 572-5505, or contact 911 as soon as possible.

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