• Should You Visit an Urgent Care Center or the ER?

    on Dec 7th, 2017

In the past, an injury or illness that needed to be tended to quickly meant an almost certain trip to the hospital emergency room, particularly if it was after hours and your primary doctor's office was closed. Even if your doctor was open, the odds of being able to get a last minute appointment were slim-to-none. Emergency rooms are still an invaluable resource for dire emergencies, but they're becoming a thing of the past as it pertains to run-of-the-mill incidents.

It's no surprise that the prevalence and popularity of urgent care centers is on the rise. In many cases, they're closer and more convenient than the hospital in terms of accessibility, and statistics show that they cost significantly less than an ER trip as well.

In some cases, people aren't sure whether they should schedule a same-day appointment at one of our five convenient locations, or opt to head to the emergency room. In general, we are fully capable of handling most common medical situations that require prompt care. However, in the case of a true emergency or a serious medical issue where the patient is in imminent danger, you should always call 9-1-1.

Below are a few common medical problems along with our recommendation for the best course of action as it pertains to the type of care you should seek. If you are unsure whether or not we can treat your particular ailment, feel free to give us a call ahead of time to talk to a healthcare professional at our clinic.

Fevers and Flu: Urgent Care

The flu can wreak havoc on your body, and we usually recommend that our patients receive flu shots to help prevent this potentially nasty illness. People who do catch the seasonal flu suffer from symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and a number of other unpleasant symptoms. While the flu will run its course on its own in most people, in some cases it's necessary to prescribe antiviral drugs to treat the illness. If you're experiencing a severe bout of the fly or you just feel generally feverish and run down, there's no need for an ER trip, no matter how under the weather you might feel. We are fully equipped to handle this type of illness.

Chest Pain: Urgent Care for Congestion, ER for Severe Pain

Chest pain can be very uncomfortable and even scary, but it's often tied to congestion and stems from things like a common cold, allergies and asthma, or bronchitis. If you are experiencing chest pain when you breathe or cough, come see us. We deal with this type of problem all the time, and we can treat you and get you breathing easy again. However, if you are experiencing severe chest pain or sharp, shooting pains in your chest, call 9-1-1 and get to the ER immediately. While sharp chest pains often turn out to be simple ailments that are relatively easy to explain and resolve, it's better to be safe than sorry, because with chest pain there's always a chance that it's stemming from a severe medical event like a heart attack.

Cuts and Lacerations: Urgent Care

Cuts and lacerations need to be cleaned and covered in order to heal properly, and this is something many patients can handle in the comfort of their own home. However, in some cases, deeper lacerations will not be able to treated at home in case they require stitches. If you have a deep cut or laceration, come see us and we can help patch you up. In the event of an extremely deep or large wound with a significant amount of blood loss, or a cut or laceration that occurs in conjunction with head trauma, it would be best to head to an emergency room or hospital to make sure there isn't a more serious accompanying issue that will need attention.

Ear Infections: Urgent Care

The pain from an ear infection can be extreme, and in many cases patients end up at the ER because the pain is so bad, or out of fear that something more serious might be wrong. Fortunately, in most cases ear infections are easy to spot and respond very well to treatment, which can range from over-the-counter pain medication and decongestants to prescription ear drops. We have plenty of experience dealing with ear infections so don' hesitate to come see us if you're dealing with ear pain.


If you need prompt medical attention and don't want to wait a few days until an appointment opens with your primary doctor, or you can't bear to spend hours in a crowded ER waiting room, give us a quick call and head right on over to one of our five convenient Portland area locations. We do encourage our patients to call ahead to schedule an appointment, but it's always our goal to get you seen the same day and as soon as possible -- significantly faster than the ER or a typical doctor's office. Contact us today and we can get you feeling better again in no time!

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