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Published on June 07, 2019

Quick Decision: Where to Go for Care

Most people know when a trip to the Emergency Room is in order. But, when might your time, health care dollars and condition warrant a visit to your urgent care or primary care physician instead.

Whether you think you’re coming down with the illness going around your child’s daycare or you stepped on a nail, sometimes you may have more questions than answers. When it comes to choosing where to go for treatment, your selection could impact your costs, convenience and care.

Emergency Room

Experts say patients should go to the ER for acute, sudden-onset symptoms and conditions or traumatic injuries, including:

  • Severe physical trauma, car accidents, broken bones or dislocated joints
  • A sudden and severe headache
  • Severe flu or cold symptoms
  • Severe pain
  • Heart attack symptoms
  • Severe shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or severe heart palpitations
  • Unexplained and sudden clumsiness, loss of balance or fainting
  • Sudden vision change, including blurred vision, double vision or full to partial vision loss
  • Sudden testicular pain and swelling
  • Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
  • Seizures without a previous diagnosis of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent diarrhea or vomiting
  • Head or eye injuries
  • Newborn babies with a high fever
  • Coughing up blood, blood in vomit or bright red blood in stool
  • Deep cuts that require stitches
  • Altered mental status or confusion

Call 911 if you are experiencing chest pain, severe bleeding, dizziness, nausea or any other side of head trauma or if your injuries or symptoms are or could become life threatening.

While the Wayne UNC ER is equipped to handle any injury or illness, it can also be the most expensive health care option available. If you have an illness or injury that isn’t life threatening, but you can’t wait for a primary care physician to see you, Urgent Care might be a better option.

Urgent Care

Urgent Care is typically able to handle conditions like:

  • Allergies
  • A sprain or muscle strain
  • Ear problems
  • Pink eye
  • Respiratory problems
  • Minor laceration or cut
  • A Fever of 103 or less
  • Sore Throat
  • Rash
  • Eye Infection
  • Cough

Another option to consider is UNC Urgent Care 24/7 for a quick virtual consult to diagnose non-emergency illnesses and injuries.

Non-life-threatening conditions that can be diagnosed with UNC Urgent Care 24/7 include:

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear Problems
  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Headache
  • Insect Bites
  • Nausea
  • Pink Eye
  • Rash
  • Respiratory Problems
  • Sore Throats
  • Urinary problems/UTI
  • Vaginitis
  • Vomiting

UNC Urgent Care 24/7 gives you fast 24/7/365 access to board-certified doctors through phone or video consults. If appropriate, a prescription can even be called in to a pharmacy near you.

At $49 or less per visit, UNC Urgent Care 24/7 can provide a convenient and affordable alternative to a costly ER visit for non-emergency medical care.

Primary Care

When it comes to you and your family’s health and wellness, your Primary Care Physician (PCP) has a vital role to play.

See your PCP for:

  • Cough, cold or flu
  • Ear infections and sore throat
  • Minor injuries like sprains, bumps and bruises
  • Skin problems
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Routine physicals and check-ups
  • Vaccines

Your PCP can also coordinate your care for chronic conditions like:

  • Allergies and asthma
  • Arthritis
  • COPD
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • Substance abuse

For more information or to find a Wayne UNC Primary Care Physician, click here.

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