If you’ve suffered an injury in Muskegon, MI you may be trying to determine if you need the services of an urgent care center or an emergency room. What is the difference between the two, and which one do you need for your particular ailment? Our specialists at Mercy Health Urgent Care are prepared to service any walk-in patient and get them back to optimal health. Let us help you understand why you should seek treatment from urgent care or when you should go to an emergency room. 

What Is the Difference Between the Two? 

If you have gotten sick or suffered an injury but your doctor is not available, don’t worry! You still have options to receive quick care. Emergency rooms and urgent care facilities are open and equipped to help. These medical centers operate after-hours so that you still have access to medical care when you need it. When it comes down to going to an emergency room versus an urgent care, which one is right for you? How do you know when to choose one over the other? Here is how you can decide. 

When Do You Need an Emergency Room? 

An emergency room treats individuals with critical illness or life-threatening conditions. If you are undergoing a medical emergency, this is the correct choice for you. Services range from wound management to stabilizing patients in cardiac arrest. You may be wondering what qualifies as a condition that needs emergency treatment. Examples can include: 

  • Heart attack, or its symptoms (shortness of breath, radiating chest pain)
  • Severe allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis 
  • Signs of stroke, including balance issues and dropping facial expressions
  • Serious wounds, such as bullet wounds, burns, or excessive bleeding
  • Broken ribs, skull, or facial bones 
  • Vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain in pregnant patients 

These are just a few medical conditions that may require immediate emergency medical attention. If your condition or injury is severe and could result in death or impairment, seek medical help through ER services right away. 

When Should You Go to an Urgent Care? 

An urgent care, like an emergency room, is a medical facility that does not require a previously scheduled appointment to enter. Rather than treating emergencies like an ER can, urgent care centers treat conditions that may be serious but not considered life-threatening. Urgent care centers make an excellent choice for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses because they are known to provide faster and less expensive services compared to emergency room visits. Issues that an urgent care may treat include: 

  • Smaller wounds that may need stitches
  • Mild to moderate breathing issues 
  • Fever, flu, or cold symptoms, like sore throat and chest congestion 
  • Sprains, strains, or back pain 
  • Stomach issues or dehydration 

Urgent care centers are equipped to provide X-ray services, run laboratory testing, and service breaks and cuts with stitches and casts. These centers do not take inpatients, perform surgery, or treat chronic medical conditions. Urgent care facilities give you convenient access to medical care outside of traditional operating hours. This includes weekends, weeknights, and some holidays. If your condition does not require calling 911 or emergency services, seek an urgent care center in your area! 

Schedule a Visit to Our Urgent Care in Muskegon. If you need medical assistance, come visit our urgent care in Muskegon, MI! Check-in online or schedule a visit with us to assess your condition. From COVID-19 testing to flu shots our specialists offer care to patients three-months-old and up. Come see us today to help you recover faster!