(CBS4)- When you are sick or in sudden pain, it can be hard to know if you should go to your doctor, an urgent care clinic or the emergency room. On CBS News Colorado, we talked to Dr. Mark Montano to help you make that decision.
May is National Urgent Care Awareness Month. Urgent care clinics offer walk-in services to mainly treat minor illnesses like flu, strep throat or minor injuries like cuts or sprains. They are meant for people who do not have any life-threatening conditions but cannot wait until their primary care physician can see them.
"The most common thing we see is cough, cold, runny nose, and flu-like symptoms," says Dr. Montano, Medical Director of CareNow Urgent Care. "In the summer, we may see more heatstroke, and in the winter, we see a lot of skiing injuries. We really see a wide variety of illnesses and diseases."
Montano says one of the biggest benefits of urgent care is getting to see a doctor on your schedule, especially when your primary care physician isn't available. It's also much more affordable than a visit to the emergency room.
"Our costs are more similar to your primary care visit, so we have a much lower entry to receiving care than the emergency department," says Dr. Montano.
If you are experiencing any life-threatening conditions, you should go to the emergency room immediately. That includes symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, passing out for an unexplained reason, weakness or facial droopiness.
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