ambulance

Friday, November 10, 2017

What do you do when you’re sick or hurt? Call your doctor? Call your mom? Google your symptoms? Do you drive to the nearest urgent care clinic, or rush to the emergency room?

The rise of urgent care clinics or “doc-in-a-box” locations and even standalone emergency rooms means we have more options for care than ever before. But which type of care should you seek? Here’s a quick guide.

Primary Care

Use for care you can schedule days or weeks in advance, such as:

  • Checkups and preventive care
  • Chronic issues like pain, blood pressure, diabetes or weight management 

Many patients, especially Millennials, only seek care on an as-needed basis, rather than choosing a “regular doctor” for annual checkups. But there are major advantages to having a primary care physician: They’ll be more familiar with your unique medical history, and better able to prevent potential issues; plus, primary care is more affordable, as many insurance plans offer lower copays or even complete coverage for well visits. 

Use our handy Find A Doctor tool to find a doctor of internal or family medicine in the greater Norman and Moore areas. 

Urgent Care

Use for urgent but non-life-threatening issues, such as:

  • After hours and same-day appointments
  • Minor illnesses such as colds or stomach viruses
  • Minor injuries such as contusions and cuts

Urgent care is a fantastic option when you need to see a doctor today but your regular doctor is unavailable and your issue isn’t serious enough to require an emergency room. For instance, if you have a bad head cold and need antibiotics; if you slice your finger open and need stitches; if you want to make sure nothing is broken after a nasty fall. Of course, an emergency room can handle those issues, but it will typically be more expensive than urgent care, and any patients with life-threatening conditions will take priority over you, so be sure to look closely at the sign or name of the clinic you choose to ensure it’s not an emergency clinic.

Norman Regional now offers an online urgent care service you can use from the comfort of your work or home.

Emergency Room

Use for life-threatening issues, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Head and spine injuries
  • Seizure or stroke
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness
  • Significant blood loss 

Emergency rooms are, you guessed it, for emergencies. If you’re experiencing a medical problem that may be an immediate threat to your life, such as a heart attack, loss of consciousness or severe fracture or wound, call 9-11 or have someone drive you to the nearest emergency room. When in doubt, always call 9-11.

See where our emergency rooms are located.