When you or a loved one is sick or injured, you want relief fast. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the ER. Emergency room visits can cost thousands of dollars. And the average wait to be seen is more than two hours. So the big question is, “How bad is it?”
How Bad Is It?
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, call 911 or head for the emergency room.
- Severe difficulty breathing or stopped breathing
- Head or eye injuries
- An injury to the neck or spine
- Coughing up or vomiting up blood
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Vaginal bleeding with pregnancy
- Broken bones and dislocated joints
- Severe cuts that may require stitches
- Confused mental state — unable to speak, see, walk or move
- An unusual or bad headache
- Severe allergic reactions
- Severe abdominal pain
- Ingested or inhaled poison
- Chest pain or difficulty breathing
- Weakness/numbness on one side
- Signs of stroke — slurred speech, numb face, arm and leg on one side
- Fainting/change in mental state
- Serious burns
- Fever with a rash
- Severe cold or flu symptoms
If your condition poses no threat of death or disability, consider an urgent care facility or virtual visit online or via smartphone. And if it’s just routine care, of course, wait and see your doctor.
When it’s not an emergency but it needs urgent attention, use your smartphone, tablet or personal computer for fast, easy access — no matter where you happen to be. Or, visit an urgent care clinic. Don’t end your vacation due to sun poisoning when all you want is relief.
Here are some situations when an urgent care or telehealth visit is your best option:
- A cold
- Flu symptoms
- Sore throat
- Low-grade fever
- Sprain, strain or back pain
- Minor injuries
- Cuts or wounds if bleeding is controlled
- Medical problem if not life-threatening but needs immediate attention
Always ask yourself, “Is this a true emergency?” If your problem is not life-threatening and there is no risk of disability, but you can’t wait to see your primary care physician, consider going to an urgent care facility to see a licensed professional from the comfort of your own home … or anywhere else you may happen to be. A virtual visit can connect you to a doctor within minutes. No appointment is necessary. Most can even write prescriptions.
Knowing where to go can save you time and money.