Any unexpected health problem is enough to scare you. Once you decide that you need to be seen by a medical professional, you may be confused about whether an urgent care walk-in clinic is the right place to go or whether you should head up to the local hospital's emergency room (ER) department. Every moment you spend deciding could affect your injury or problem, so consider these issues and quickly go to the proper location.

Health History

If you're experiencing discomfort in line with situations you've had before, a walk-in clinic might be perfect. If you're having pain during urination, for example, and recognize that from a previous urinary tract infection, it's possible that while you need attention soon, it's not an emergent problem. If you're miserable from chest congestion and know that you get sinus infections every winter, a walk-in is suitable.

However, if your health history includes serious illnesses like diabetes or potentially catastrophic events like heart attacks or blood clots, you should probably choose the ER. Low blood sugar, for instance, could be fatal. It's vital that if you suspect you're about to go into diabetic coma or shock that you proceed to your hospital.

Vital Organs

Typically, if your concern is a head wound or anything affecting a vital organ like your heart or a lung, the hospital could be best. You can be quickly moved into a bedroom for extended monitoring or moved to a better crisis center. Going to a walk-in with severe chest wounds, for instance, will likely result in an ambulance call and trip to the hospital's ER.

Broken or Sprained Bones

Pain consistent with bone problems can make you worry that you've sprained or broken something. The ER is a natural place to consider, but for such issues, you can also visit walk-in clinics.

Many clinics have X-Ray machines and will be able to diagnose the problem and set it there. Because many walk-ins service fewer people than hospitals, you're likely to get through the entire visit faster and get home sooner. If the break is complex and further tools or expertise is required, the walk-in clinic doctors will refer you to the ER themselves.

Your decision about the best location for medical attention should be made according to the type of problem you have and your own knowledge of your health history. You may call a walk-in medical clinic for advice about your condition and the right facility to visit.