Recently updated on October 25th, 2022 at 11:32 am
Did you know that 25% of Americans don’t have a primary care provider? The number continues to grow as young people are more likely to lack primary care.
With urgent care centers around every corner, many believe that they don’t need a primary care doctor. However, an urgent care and primary care facility aren’t the same. Read on to learn the differences between urgent care vs. primary care.
Urgent Care vs. Primary Care
Urgent care centers can play an essential part in your health, but they don’t replace your primary care doctor. Think about it as a substitute when you can’t get an appointment with your doctor but need one.
An urgent care facility can treat many injuries and can help with an acute non-life-threatening emergency.
If you can get an appointment with your primary care doctor, they are the best option. Your personal doctor knows you better than anyone at an urgent care facility They understand your medical history and have a better idea of your health overall.
Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room
Wondering where to go for a broken bone is a common problem people have when they can’t get to their primary care doctor. The answer will depend on the severity of the problem. If you can see bones sticking out, it is best to visit the hospital right away.
Going to the emergency room is the most expensive option but may be necessary under certain circumstances. If you are choking, having breathing issues, experiencing chest pain, or have been severely burned, going to the hospital is the best option.
You should also visit the emergency room if you have suffered from a head, neck, or spine injury. Having seizures for more than three seconds is another reason to go to the hospital.
Urgent care centers act as walk-in clinics that are open during the week when primary care facilities usually aren’t. This is a convenient option for those dealing with urgent health issues, but there are downsides.
The purpose of an urgent care facility is to treat an emergency issue, not provide full healthcare. Because they don’t know your health history, you may spend time completing paperwork before you are seen.
The copays at an urgent care center tend to be higher than primary care copays. If you are in a bind and need care right away, these centers are best for treating bad colds or the flu, muscle sprains or pulls, abdominal pain, and minor fractures.
They are also equipped to handle fever, headaches, shortness of breath, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you have a sinus infection or ear infection that over-the-counter medicine won’t help, you can get a prescription through an urgent care center.
When it comes to primary care vs. urgent care, primary care is always the best choice. If there is no way to see your doctor for urgent medical needs, going to an urgent care facility is recommended.
If you don’t have a primary care doctor, consider Healthy Living Family Medical.
Where Should You Go?
The differences between urgent care vs. primary care are important to consider when you have a medical emergency.
If you are in a situation where you don’t need to go to the hospital, but can’t get in to see your primary care doctor, an urgent care facility is helpful. The most important thing to take from this is that an urgent care center won’t replace your primary care doctor.
For more articles on health topics, check out our other blog posts.