When to visit urgent care vs. an emergency room

Posted at 11:24 AM, Feb 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 18:13:32-05

In a medical emergency, knowing when to visit urgent care instead of an emergency room could save you both time and money.

Health officials at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Emergency Department said they see nearly 170 patients every day, 50 of whom could have been treated at an urgent care center.

RELATED: Maryland ER wait times are the worst in the nation

Maryland currently leads the nation in emergency room wait times with an average of 53 minutes lapsed before patients can see a health care professional. The national average is just 22 minutes in comparison.

Where should you go when you’re in pain? University of Maryland Urgent Care suggests these guidelines:

Urgent Care Treatment

  • Rash
  • Tooth pain
  • Sprains & strains
  • Cuts that need stitches
  • Sore throat
  • Lower back pain
  • Pink eye
  • Animal or insect bite
  • Cold & flu symptoms

Emergency Room Treatment

  • Stomach or chest pain
  • Allergic reactions
  • Eye or head injuries
  • Serious burns
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Trouble breathing
  • Heart attack symptoms
  • High fevers
  • Possible drug overdose or poisoning

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