Is it an emergency?

Emergencies are life-threatening situations. A serious injury may be the cause. Or you may have chest pain or another sudden, severe pain. It is important to seek emergency care in these cases.

However, some people go to the ER for other issues. If you go to the ER with a minor problem, you could end up waiting for hours. You also may take up a doctor’s time that could be spent saving lives.

An urgent care center is a better choice for these concerns. Urgent care centers are often open late and on weekends. Of course, it’s always better to see your own family doctor. But if your doctor isn’t open, urgent care is a good option.

The following examples can help you make this decision.

When you need to go to an emergency room:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe bleeding or head trauma
  • Loss of consciousness or “black out”
  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision
  • Very high fever in an infant less than 3 months old

When you need to go to an urgent care center:

  • Minor burns or injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Coughs, colds and sore throats
  • Ear infections
  • Allergic reactions (non-life-threatening)
  • Fever or flu-like symptoms
  • Rash or other skin irritations
  • Mild asthma
  • Animal bites
  • Broken bones