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What is the Difference Between Urgent and Emergency Care

There are many terms used in healthcare that can be confusing. It’s a common mistake to think that urgent care and emergency care are the same thing. They’re not. Fox 13 News Utah explains the difference.

You can go to a local urgent care center for things like having a cold, suffering a sprain, or getting vaccinations. Some urgent care centers will offer diagnostic testing like blood tests or X-rays.


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You need urgent care for things that are bad, but not life-threatening. One advantage of urgent care centers is that they will often treat the unemployed, as long as you can pay with a credit card.

Emergency care is for life-threatening emergencies. These should be reserved for severe injuries, strokes, heart attacks, breathing problems, cancer, or snake bites. Although doctors often tell their patients to go to emergency rooms for non-life threatening medical problems like urinary tract infections, these days will hopefully soon be in the past. Urgent care is a relatively new branch of medicine created so that emergency rooms can just focus on emergencies. ‘Emergency rooms are located in hospitals that are usually part of a specific health care network. If you are not in the network, your insurance usually will not cover it.

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