When should you go to the emergency room versus urgent care?
An emergency is a accident or sudden, unexpected injury or illness that must be treated immediately. Without immediate care, serious medical complications, permanent disability or even death may result. Some examples of emergency medical conditions include:
- Heart attack or severe chest pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Bleeding that does not stop
- Severe abdominal pain
- Sudden paralysis or slurred speech
- Medically necessary detoxification
What to do
If it is an emergency, always seek medical care immediately. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency facility. Also make sure to follow up with your personal physician or provider for further follow-up care.
Many situations are not emergencies, but do require immediate medical attention.Urgent care is treatment you need right away for an illness or injury that is not life-threatening. Some examples of conditions for which urgent care would be appropriate include:
- Minor cuts or burns
- Ear, nose and throat infections
- Sprains or strains
- Stomach aches
- Headaches or dizziness
What to do
If you are in doubt about what to do, call your doctor for advice. They will be able to direct you to the most appropriate place for care. Also remember to call your personal physician or provider for further follow-up care.