Urgent Care

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An illness or injury is never convenient. When someone in the family gets hurt, of course you want them to get medical help immediately. If you are currently experiencing a medical emergency, what are you doing reading this article? Put down the paper and call 911! You need to be in an emergency room! But unless it’s a life-threatening, or body-part-threatening emergency, your Primary Care Provider (your doctor’s office) or an urgent care center – not the ER – may be the best place to seek treatment.

Your primary care doctor should be your first call in non-emergency situations. Your doctor knows you and your health history, including what medications you are taking and what chronic conditions might need to be considered in your treatment. Plus, the co-pay for a visit to your doctor’s office will cost far less than a trip to the emergency room, and usually less than an urgent care. Most of us are familiar with what goes on in a doctor’s office and an emergency room. But what is an urgent care?

Urgent care walk-in centers offer many of the same services the hospital provides.  Some, but not all, even include X-ray and other imaging techniques, lab testing, exam rooms and procedure rooms for treating cuts and broken bones. In addition, an urgent care can cost about half of the bill for the same care delivered at an ER. Patients often are seen more quickly in an urgent care than in an ER due to the differences in patient volumes and longer  treatment times for the more critically ill or injured patients.

Urgent care centers are well-suited for treating minor burns and injuries, animal bites, sprains and strains, coughs, colds, sore throats, minor allergic reactions, ear infections, fever and flu symptoms, mild asthma, rashes and other skin irritations. In general, if you would normally go to your doctor’s office but they are closed or booked up, an urgent care is probably the way to go. Visiting one of these urgent care centers when the situation calls for it also frees up emergency medical professionals in the emergency room to handle more serious medical conditions.

So, when should you choose an ER? The emergency room is the place to go when you have a life-threatening condition, or are experiencing severe symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or a drooping face. Any symptom that is extreme in nature or is not relieved with over-the-counter medications, such as severe vomiting or headache, suggests a trip to the ER instead of urgent care. Wisdom recommends calling 911 or heading for the nearest ER when you feel symptoms such as:

  • Very high or very low vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and temperature (slight abnormalities can be evaluated in urgent care)
  • Altered mental state
  • Seizures
  • Stroke symptoms, including the sudden onset of numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes; or trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Vision loss
  • Nose bleeds that don’t stop
  • Severe swelling of the mouth, the inability to swallow liquids or high-pitched breathing sounds
  • Signs of heart attack or irregular heartbeat rhythm, such as chest pain or fainting
  • Shortness of breath with minimal exertion or wheezing
  • A large, distended or rigid belly
  • Severe limb fracture or joint dislocation
  • Blistering or extensive rash
  • Bleeding during pregnancy or labor
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Major trauma
  • Overdoses
  • Complications from recent surgery or procedures
  • Any problem requiring a medical or surgical specialist

University Hospitals is ready to help with all your healthcare needs. If you need a local Primary Care Provider go to: uhsamaritan.org.  

 For an urgent care near you we have multiple locations:  
UH Samaritan Urgent Care in Ashland at 663 East Main Street
UH Samaritan’s New London Urgent Care, which opened June 24th, located at 206 West Main Street in New London
UH Kettering Urgent Care at 546 North Union Street in Loudonville.

Finally, UH Samaritan Medical Center’s Emergency Department is located at 1025 Center Street in Ashland, Ohio and all University Hospitals locations can easily be found by going to: uhhospitals.org.

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