Illness and injury can be scary and uncomfortable, but knowing where to go in certain situations can help ease some of your stress and anxiety.
In this article, you will learn when you might consider going to one of Fairfield Medical Center’s Emergency Departments versus Fairfield Medical Center Urgent Care or visiting your primary care provider.
This article has been created for informational purposes only. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency department.
Health starts with your primary care provider. Visiting your family doctor annually for routine check-ups is an important step in managing health and wellness, and having a relationship with a provider you know and trust will serve you well when you’re feeling less than your best.
In addition to routine wellness checks, your primary care provider can help you with:
- Lingering pain, sprains or strains
- Cough, colds or sore throats
- Flu or illness with low-grade fever
- Minor allergic reactions
- Eye, ear, sinus or urinary tract infections
- Minor burns or skin irritations (rashes, insect bites)
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Chronic disease management
Your primary care provider is trained to evaluate your concerns and offer solutions. Most of the time, a treatment plan can be created in the office. In some cases, your primary care provider may send you to a specialist, making the referral process seamless and stress-free.
Learn more about Fairfield Healthcare Professionals Primary Care,
or call 740-687-8666 to schedule an appointment.
Urgent care was designed to provide services when your primary care provider isn’t available, but the two aren’t exactly interchangeable. If you only visit urgent care when you’re sick or injured, you lose the chance to form a lasting relationship with your healthcare provider, which means you could miss out on some serious opportunities to manage your health. Nevertheless, urgent care is a great way to increase access to care.
Urgent cares often offer walk-in services outside of regular office hours, including evenings and weekends, and these are a great tool for staying out of the Emergency Department (and avoiding long waits) for minor ailments and injuries.
In addition to seeing many of the same conditions as your primary care providers, urgent care may be useful for:
- Minor injuries (wounds and lacerations)
- Possible broken bones
- Frequent or painful urination
- Mild dehydration or heat-related injuries
Urgent cares are not meant to treat serious or life-threatening conditions. Instead, you should call 911 or go to the emergency department.
Emergency departments are designed to treat serious health conditions, especially those considered severe or life-threatening. While an urgent care may work on a first-come, first-serve basis, emergency departments use a triage system to keep patients safe. This means the order of treatment is determined based on immediate need, not the length of your wait.
You should go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Severely broken bone
- Serious head, neck or back injury
- Severe burns
- Suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty breathing
- Signs of a stroke
- Signs of a heart attack
- Seizures or convulsions
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Overdose or poisoning
This list is not comprehensive, and you should seek medical attention any time you suspect a serious medical condition may be occurring.