When Should You Go to Urgent Care vs a Hospital?

Here’s a little known fact: around half of all emergency room visits could have been taken care of at an urgent care. It would’ve been cheaper, and likely much quicker, for those folks if they had gone to urgent care. So how do you know whether you need emergency care at the local hospital or can go to the free clinic? Well, it’s never black and white, but if you’re wondering when should you go to urgent care, here are a few illnesses, injuries and maladies that you should be able to get taken care of there.


If you’re feeling lightheaded and dizzy, and the feeling won’t go away, try an urgent care before you make the trip to the emergency room. Unless the feeling is extreme or severe, an urgent care doctor should be able to figure out what’s going on and get to a solution. It’s one of the most common complaints heard by doctors, and there’s no sense in wasting a trip to the hospital if it’s not necessary.

Sprained Ankle or Wrist

A minor ankle or wrist injury can be taken care of at an urgent care, so no need to rush to the emergency room, despite your screaming child. Every single day, 25,000 people in America sprain their ankles. It’s that common! A simple injury like this only takes some minor medical attention. Mostly, it just needs time to rest and heal!

Common Cold

If you have the cold, most likely you’ll be okay with some time at home resting. If you’re in particularly vulnerable health, or have an extremely nasty cold, you may want to visit an urgent care or free clinic to get checked out. That way, you’ll receive some quality medical treatment and they’ll be able to make sure nothing else is wrong.

Minor Fractures

If you have a broken bone, you may be wondering when should you go to urgent care or the hospital. It can be hard to make the distinction, but 80% of urgent care facilities do take care of fractures. Now, if it is something really serious, the E.R. is your best option, but for smaller fractures like a foot, hand or finger, you will be able to get it taken care of at most urgent care centers.

Ear Infection

As they mostly occur in children, it can be hard to tell how much pain an ear infection is actually causing. Before resorting to a hospital trip, take your child to urgent care to see if the doctor there can handle the ear infection. They usually aren’t too serious, and it’ll save you quite a large medical bill.

Do you have any other injuries or illnesses you’ve had treated at urgent care? How were you able to figure out when should you go to urgent care versus the hospital? How was your experience? Share your opinions on the centers with us down below in the comments, and have a great day!

Follow by Email