Many Americans visit hospital emergency rooms daily because they don’t know where to go when they’re experiencing unusual and unsettling symptoms, but a visit to the emergency room isn’t always necessary. Many symptoms can be treated with quick care in an urgent care or walk in clinic which will often save you time and money. A walk in clinic or urgent care can be five times cheaper than going to the emergency room because typically if you have insurance you only have to pay a normal copay. However, at the emergency room you have to pay multiple fees which makes it a lot more expensive.

When to Go to the Emergency Room

There are some situations where you should go to the ER instead of going to urgent care of a walk in clinic. For example, if you are experiencing severe chest pains, numbness in the face, alcohol poisoning, severe injury, sudden loss of vision, bleeding that doesn’t stop in 10 minutes, or suicidal thoughts. These are all situations that can be better treated at the emergency room because they are potentially life threatening and very time sensitive. Emergency rooms prioritize the patients they see by matter of urgency.

When to Go to Urgent Care

An urgent care is the better option to visit when you have a urinary tract infection, a sinus infection, flu like symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, or fever. Any situation that isn’t serious or life threatening can typically be treated at an urgent care. There are many urgent cares that stay open 24 hours so even if something unexpected happens in the middle of the night there should be somewhere for you to go that doesn’t require a stop at the ER. Additionally, hospitals can be large and hard to navigate which is the last thing that you want to deal with when something unexpected happens.