Your family’s health, as well as your own, rarely keeps a nice and tidy schedule — one in which you and your primary care provider are both available whenever something crops up. And health issues do crop up, some of which need more immediate attention.
In these cases, you’re likely wondering whether to head to the nearest emergency room (ER) or if an urgent care facility might do the trick.
As premier primary and urgent care facilities, the three greater Los Angeles area locations of Michael Bazel, M.D. offer a wide range of services that can often answer the call for your family’s medical care.
Here, Dr. Bazel and our team explore some points to consider when choosing between an ER and urgent care.
The advantages of urgent care
Urgent care facilities are fast becoming a great alternative to ERs — ERs in the United States see more than 131 million visits each year, while urgent care centers treat more than 160 million patients annually.
There are many reasons behind the growing popularity of urgent care, including:
- Shorter wait times
- More personalized care
- Better parking and access
ERs are mostly part of larger hospital organizations, so these facilities can be confusing and extremely busy, from the parking lot to the waiting areas. Our urgent care facilities are far more manageable and less stressful spaces, which can be most welcome when you’re not feeling all that great.
What urgent care covers
It’s good to think of urgent care as a midway point between primary care and emergency care. We offer comprehensive services for basic health care needs and you don’t have to wait for an appointment. Our urgent care is first come, first served, and we make an effort to deliver your care in as timely a manner as possible.
Some great reasons to visit one of our urgent care centers are:
- Minor cuts
- Simple fractures
- Infections, such as urinary tract infections, ear infections, or infected wounds
- Colds and flu
- Stomach issues
As you can see, these are all issues that aren’t life-threatening, but they also can’t wait a week for a regular appointment.
Another good reason to see us is if we’re handling a chronic health problem of yours and you’re having an issue. For example, if we’ve been managing your asthma and you’re having a flare-up, a quick visit to our urgent care clinic can help you get back to breathing more freely.
When the ER is better
As we mentioned, ERs are part of larger hospitals, so there are times when you need full access to health services, such as when you have:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pains
- Severe pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Heavy bleeding
- Bad breaks or large wounds
- Head injuries
In these cases, you likely need the higher level of care that hospitals can provide.
When you need immediate care for a minor injury, worsening illness, or health condition, visit our office location that’s closest to you — in Panorama City, Bell, or Valley Village, California. If your issue isn't life-threatening, call to schedule an appointment or request one online anytime.