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ER? Urgent Care? What’s Best for Your Situation?

Choosing Between Urgent Care and the ER

In a moment of crisis, uncertainty can strike about where to go for care. Should you go to the emergency or an urgent care facility? Both offer medical care, but choosing to go the ER for minor symptoms can be costly and unnecessary.

So how do you decide? The answer may not always be clear, but understanding the differences between your options can translate to more effective, life-saving care.

Urgent Care Clinics

Urgent care clinics, like Crimson Care, are a stop-gap medical facility for when you can’t see your doctor (or can’t wait for an appointment). Urgent care clinics can facilitate and administer care for a variety of symptoms that need treatment immediately but are not considered emergencies.

An urgent care clinic is a great option if you feel your condition or sudden illness you would feel comfortable discussing with your primary care physician. In other words, you’re fine with waiting until your doctor is available.

Common illnesses covered by urgent care:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Dehydration

  • Flu (mild to moderate symptoms)

  • Minor cuts, sprains

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • Fever (without a rash)

  • Shortness of breath

All urgent care clinics are same-day clinics and offer turnaround care times of less than a few hours.

However, if you feel like your condition is dire and needs immediate emergency medical attention, you should consider going to the emergency room.

When the ER is Necessary

Unlike urgent care clinics, emergency rooms are equipped to handle highly-critical, complex needs, including surgeries, trauma or life-threatening conditions.

Symptoms best handled by the hospital emergency department:

  • Concussion/confusion

  • Severe cuts (requiring stitches)

  • Facial lacerations

  • Head or eye injury

  • Slurred speech

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Weakness/numbness

  • Seizures

A good rule of thumb when deciding whether to go to the ER is to trust your gut. If your instincts are telling you that it’s serious, go to the emergency room. Don’t hesitate.

Of course, if your condition requires swift, immediate action, such as stroke, heart attack or breathing difficulties, call 911.

Best Practices for Fast, Effective Care

If possible, compile a list of any allergies and any previous medical surgeries or procedures you’ve had. Additionally, bring a list of all current medications you take, including the dosage and frequency you take it. This will provide a better picture of your medical history for the doctor or physician to accurately administer care.


Discover Premium, Primary Care at Crimson Care in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Dr. Ramesh Peramsetty -- along with his entire Crimson Care team -- is committed to making medical services convenient and accessible. Crimson Care Veterans is available seven days a week, with wait times of less than one hour. The clinic offers two Tuscaloosa locations: one on Veterans Memorial Parkway and the other on Skyland Boulevard. Both locations offer extended weekday hours and one-stop treatment services including medical care, x-rays, lab work, and prescription dispensing. In addition to physical convenience, Crimson Care also offers digital access through its online patient portal. With your own login credentials and a laptop, you can request prescription refills, complete any necessary patient forms online, review your medical records at any time, and even pay your bill. Check us out today on our website, or give us a call at Crimson Care Veterans: (205) 507-1100 Crimson Care Skyland: 205-507-1119.



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