Where should you go for care?

Photo by robertprzybysz / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

FEATURE — Whether your child came down with heat rash after a day in the hot sun or your hiking trip went awry after dad sprained his ankle, several families will find themselves in a situation where they need immediate medical attention this summer. Do you know your options?

Many people, especially those on vacation, opt for emergency room treatment during the summer but are unaware that local urgent care facilities can treat a lot of the same conditions as an ER, and at a much lower cost.

“We certainly appreciate the skills and abilities of those in the emergency room who treat problems that are life-threatening,” said Dr. Scott Barton, family medicine and urgent care provider at Revere Health St. George Clinic. “But unfortunately, the cost of care in the emergency room can be up to 10 times the cost of an urgent care setting.“

Barton also explained that the typical wait for an emergency room with a nonemergent condition could be extremely longer than that of an urgent care. Going to an ER for a sprain or a mild laceration also distracts the ER staff from caring for those who are in acutely life-threatening situations.

Should I go to the ER or an urgent care?

If your emergency is life-threatening, go to an emergency room. Otherwise, you may want to visit an urgent care.

At Revere Health St. George Clinic, doctors commonly see urgent care patients for the following conditions:

  • Acute injuries.
  • Mild to moderate lacerations.
  • Sprains.
  • Possible bone fractures that do not involve marked deformity or protrude through the skin.
  • Mild to moderate allergic reactions.
  • Rashes.
  • Mild to moderate burns.
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Animal or insect bites and stings.
  • Infections.

If you experience chest pain or severe shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, coughing or vomiting blood, severe abdominal pain, or sudden facial drooping or paralysis, go to an emergency room right away.

I am far away from emergency services, what can I do?

Perhaps a family member gets injured on your five-mile hike and you aren’t near an urgent care center. Knowledge of first aid before you can get to medical care is vital.

“We can occasionally give advice over the phone, [if cellular service is available], that may be of help until the patient can be seen in our clinic,” said Barton. “But there are a lot of things patients can do to help themselves until they’re able to get appropriate care.”

Lacerations, for example, can be rinsed quickly with a water bottle and compressed with an item of clothing to control bleeding. For sprains or possible fractures, a first-aid instant ice pack or cold canteen is a good analgesic and decreases swelling.

“Some fractures can be reasonably well splinted until they are able to get medical care,” said Barton. “For example, a magazine or heavy stick can act as a splint for a forearm fracture.”

Barton encourages families to prepare a first aid kit before going out on summer activities to help prevent further damage. He also suggests keeping a list of current medications and active medical conditions to provide emergency care providers.

I followed first aid protocol; do I still need to see a doctor?

You can treat many minor injuries on your own, but it’s important to know when you still need medical attention. Cuts, scrapes, bumps, bruises, stings and bites can be alleviated with the right first aid supplies. If the problem persists for longer than a few days, it’s probably a good idea to see your doctor. If you’re not sure, give your local urgent care center a call.

“Some people get a laceration and initially think they might care for it themselves and then become more concerned,” said Barton. “It is only safe to primarily close a laceration up to 12-18 hours after the occurrence. Otherwise, closing such a wound increases the risk of infection, and we would encourage patients to come in quickly.”

Injuries or illnesses that are not taken care of can be dangerous. If you or a member of your family need medical attention, visit your nearest urgent care.

•  S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T  •

Resources

  • Revere Health St. George Clinic | 736 S. 900 East, No. 203, St. George | Telephone 435-673-6131 | Website

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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