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Urgent Care vs Emergency Room

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Urgent Care: non-emergency situationsEmergency Room: life-threatening situations
  • minor fractures, sprains, and strains
  • minor back pain
  • minor headaches
  • abdominal pain
  • mild nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • urinary tract infections
  • low-grade fever between 100.4 and 1.2.2 degrees
  • ear or sinus pain
  • cough or sore throat
  • domesticated animal bites if not allergic
  • stitches
  • mild asthma
  • allergies
  • rashes and minor burns
  • eye irritation, swelling, or pain
  • cold or flu symptoms
  • severe chest pain
  • severe abdominal pain
  • severe head or eye injuries
  • loss of consciousness
  • difficulty breathing
  • allergic reactions
  • poisoning
  • stroke
  • severe bleeding
  • vaginal bleeding with pregnancy
  • severe burns
  • loss of vision
  • major fractures
  • wild or feral animal bites. Bites from animals/insects that cause an allergic reaction
  • stabbings
  • gunshot wounds
  • drug or alcohol overdose

Urgent Care vs Emergency Room Pros and Cons

Urgent Care - ProsEmergency Room - Pros
Short Wait timesAvailable 24/7
No appointment neededSophisticated treatment options
Many open until 9 pmSwift admittance to hospital/surgery if needed
$40 copay 
Urgent Care - ConsEmergency Room - Cons
Hours vary$250/visit
Few 24-hour locationsLong wait times
Not suitable for life threatening emergenciesAetna will not pay for non-emergency use of the hospital unless after urgent care hours