Doctor’s, Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

In past years, people facing a medical emergency had two options for care: a doctor’s office, or an emergency room. The surge in urgent care center growth has now provided Americans with a middle ground option that is less intense than a hospital but more accessible than a doctor’s office. Choices are a wonderful thing to have, but this has left many patients unsure of the best destination after an accident or illness. These guidelines set the record straight.

It’s Time for the Doctor’s Office When…
Your doctor is the person who knows your history, checks on you every year, and helps to identify the best ways to maintain and improve your health. You should see your doctor annually to maintain that relationship and ensure that at least one health professional has enough information about you to notice when your body may be in trouble. Primary doctors are best for preventative care and, when preventative care doesn’t do enough, ongoing treatment for specific conditions.

Urgent Care Is Best When…
Most cities and towns have a variety of urgent care options available with doctors on staff 365 days a year with extended hours. This makes urgent care facilities perfect for unexpected yet not life-threatening problems that need immediate attention. Urgent care centers are also excellent alternatives to doctor’s offices that require appointments well in advance and often close by 5:00.

Common problems seen in urgent care facilities include sports injuries, high fevers, flu and cold, stomach pains, fractures and sprains, and more. Many people like to use urgent care centers to have bloodwork done as well, since it’s a quick and simple in-and-out process.

Get To the Emergency Room When…
As the name suggests, the emergency room is meant to handle true life-threatening emergencies. Not only are emergency rooms far more expensive, with or without insurance, but there are very few emergency rooms in any given city, leading to extremely long waits at just about any time of day. For these reasons and many more, an emergency room should only be your destination if your health problem relates to trouble breathing, unconsciousness, deep wounds, continuous bleeding, and other life-threatening conditions. 

Rio de Janeiro has been preparing to host the 2016 summer olympics for years, and now mosquitos are threatening to overturn the biggest event of the season. It began when ticket sales remained sluggish and Olympic officials had to brainstorm ways to incentivize the purchase of tickets. But the situation worsened at the end of May when a group of scientists, bioethicists, and doctors released a statement calling for the games to be postponed or moved due to Zika threats.

The World Health Organization (WHO) quickly responded by saying there is “no public health justification” for altering Rio’s Olympic plans, but many people in the public aren’t satisfied. The Zika outbreak in the Americas started in Brazil in 2015, and since then almost 100,000 cases have been reported. The WHO acknowledged this and responded with reminders of wearing mosquito spray, long sleeves, and pants while attending the Olympics. As of now the Olympics are still on, but more controversy is sure to ensue.

Zika Continues to Spread
Americans were once largely oblivious to the Zika virus, but it is now spreading, with over 500 known cases in the U.S. alone. Officials are warning of an imminent spread on a larger scale within the next month, urging for “forceful preparation” to minimize the damage. The existing cases in the US are mainly travel related, but there is fear that local infections will grow. President Obama has responded by asking Congress for $1.9 billion in emergency funding.