E.R. vs. Urgent Care

Helping you decide when to call 911.

Whether you go to an emergency room or an urgent care center be sure you get medical help if you think you need it.

A twisted ankle. A slashed finger. Suspicious chest pain. Where do you go when you have an after-hours emergency? The emergency room seems like the obvious answer, but these days, an urgent care center might be the better, and more affordable, option.

Emergency rooms are designed to serve those with life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Take the chest pains to the ER, stat. Likewise, if you’re with someone who suffers a serious head injury or anything that can permanently impair or endanger their life, including compound fractures, convulsions, loss of consciousness, deep knife wounds, gunshot wounds, severe abdominal pain, moderate to severe burns, and poisoning, take them to the ER or call 911.  

If you’re dealing with an illness or injury that doesn’t appear to be immediately life threatening, but can’t wait ‘til your primary care physician’s office opens in the morning, head to an urgent care center. These facilities, such as Patient First and BetterMed, can treat minor injuries from accidents and falls, mild to moderate asthma, eye irritations, ear infections, fever or flu, skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. You’ll still get professional help, while leaving the ER open to treat the grievously ill.

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