Getting sick or injured isn’t fun and rarely happens at a “convenient time.” The last thing you want to worry about is where to go for medical treatment.

Fortunately, you have several treatment options when you need immediate care. If possible, start with your primary care doctor because they know your health history. But sickness or injury can happen on the weekend or at night when your primary doctor isn’t available.

How do you know whether to go to an urgent care or an emergency room? If your condition isn’t life-threatening, urgent care is a good option. If your medical situation is severe or life-threatening, head immediately to an emergency room.

Urgent care facilities are typically open later and on weekends. There are approximately 9,000 urgent cares nationwide, and sixty-nine percent have wait times of less than 20 minutes. Most likely, you’ll save time and money going to urgent care.

Wait times at emergency rooms can be extreme, especially on weekends or during flu season. ER’s are open 24/7 and offer specialists, diagnostic testing, and even surgery if you need it. Emergency rooms are staffed with doctors and specialists at all times. An average ER visit costs about $1,400.

Know ahead of time where the closest emergency room and urgent care centers are. You may not need them now, but if and when you do, you’ll know where to go.

No matter where you go, remember that you may need to follow up care. If they perform blood work or another testing, be sure the results will be sent to you and your primary care doctor.

Some conditions may not be immediately revealed but may show up later in your test results.

A delay in test results or a miscommunication in getting you the results in a timely fashion could compromise your health. Follow up with your primary care doctor, as needed.