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Urgent Care vs. ER: Where Should I Go?

Your throat is sore, you have a low fever, and a rash has broken out on your body. You don't think waiting for an appointment to see your primary care doctor is wise. Where do you go?

Conditions that require medical care within 24 hours, but are not life- or limb-threatening, are handled at urgent care.

Examples of conditions treated at urgent care locations:

    Finger bandage
  • Vomiting
  • Painful urination
  • Strains and sprains
  • Accidents and falls
  • Minor trauma (such as a broken finger)
  • Severe sore throat
  • Fever and flu
  • Infections and skin rashes
  • Cut that requires stitches
  • Moderate back problems

Urgent care does not require an appointment; walk-ins are welcome. However, you can call ahead to check the wait time and schedule an appointment if you choose.

When the ER is the Right Place

Ambulence imageKnowing the difference between an urgent situation and an emergency situation can help save you time, money, and in some cases, even your life.

If you think you're in a life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1.

The following symptoms are medical emergencies and should be treated in an emergency room:

  • Sudden and severe head pain
  • Paralysis
  • Shortness of breath
  • Disorientation and inability to speak
  • Vision loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • High fever
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body 
  • Persistent bleeding
  • Injury to the head or eyes
  • Severe burn
  • Severe heart palpitations
  • Deep wound that needs stitches
  • Rapid testicular inflammation and pain
  • High fever in newborn baby
  • Compound fracture
  • Poisoning 
  • Seizure
  • Gunshot or knife wound

Traumatic Injury

Trauma injuries that are life-threatening, such as a motor vehicle collision or gunshot wound, are treated in our Level 1 Trauma Center.

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