More people than ever before are visiting emergency rooms for medical care usually provided by primary-care physicians. Knowing ahead of time the level of care you can receive at an urgent-care center is extremely important, especially if you have a medical event that is more serious than an urgent-care facility is able to treat. Follow these tips when deciding whether urgent care is best for your medical issue or not.

Broken Bones, Body Aches from the Flu, and Stitches

Medical events that can be considered as emergencies, like broken bones, flu and cold symptoms, minor wounds that require stitches, and burns are treatable at most urgent-care centers. However, broken bones that have caused internal injuries like a punctured lung should be seen by emergency-room staff. The same is also true about cuts that require stitches. If you have a minor cut on your hand that needs stitches, you can get them at an urgent-care center. If you have a cut that is deep and opened wide with profuse bleeding, a trip to the emergency room is best. If you have a medical event, calling ahead to an urgent-care center to see whether the staff there will be able to treat that event is a good idea. You should keep in mind that most urgent-care centers are led by physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners instead of medical doctors.

Small Medical Problems That Become Emergencies

When you visit an urgent-care facility with a minor issue, like an aching arm, you may guess that the problem is a pulled muscle that resulted from overdoing things. However, when the pain in your arm turns out to be a symptom of a more serious problem like a heart episode, you will most likely be transported to a nearby emergency room via ambulance. Urgent-care centers are not set up to treat severe medical emergencies like heart attacks, strokes, and traumatic head injuries. If you or someone you love has a serious medical issue occurring, calling 911 is the best idea because an ambulance will go to the nearest emergency room.

Urgent-care centers are designed to help take the load off local emergency rooms, so making sure you take only non-emergency medical needs to urgent care is important. Learning more about the urgent-care facility near you and what kind of problems the staff members there treat before you need treatment for a medical event is a good idea.