A person should take someone to an urgent care center if the individual suffers a sickness or injury such as an accident or sprain that is not critical but still requires medical attention within 24 hours, according to Mount Sinai Hospital. Other nonemergency conditions include cuts, fever and vomiting.
An urgent care center offers easily accessible health care to patients with urgent medical conditions such as moderate back issues, breathing problems, eye problems and minor bleeding that requires stitches, states Mount Sinai Hospital. Patients who want to access X-rays, laboratory exams and other diagnostic services may also go to an urgent care center. Other conditions that are not considered emergency cases include diarrhea, dehydration, intense cough, severe sore throat and skin infections.
Urgent care centers are recommended for individuals who need to consult a primary care doctor on periods when primary care physicians are not available, says Mount Sinai Hospital. However, urgent care is not an alternative for emergency care, as emergency conditions can lead to permanent damage or death, thus requiring prompt medical care.
Life-threatening conditions that require treatment at an emergency room include a heart attack, severe head injury and extreme chest pain, notes Mount Sinai Hospital. Fever in infants less than 3 months old, unstoppable bleeding, and moderate or severe burn are also considered emergencies.