Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care

When the unexpected happens, where do you go? How do you know how serious it is?

The emergency room and urgent care are two options for a sudden medical problem. Depending on your symptoms and level of injury, you can make a better choice about which medical facility to choose. The emergency room at the hospital may be very busy with longer wait times, but is available 24/7. An urgent care clinic is a walk-in medical facility that offers many of the same diagnostic tests and treatments as an emergency room with a shorter wait time, but be aware of the hours at the urgent care center before you head over for a late-night or weekend visit.

Go to Urgent Care for:

  • strain or sprain
  • minor broken bone
  • mild asthma attack or allergic reaction
  • small cut or injury
  • sore throat or earache
  • rash
  • minor burn
  • urinary tract, pelvic, or other minor infection
  • animal bite
  • fever or flu

Go to the Emergency Room for:

  • abdominal or chest pain or pressure or any signs of heart attack or stroke
  • bleeding, vomiting, or diarrhea that does not stop
  • pain that comes on suddenly or severely
  • vision changes
  • dizziness, weakness, or loss of consciousness
  • difficulty breathing
  • confusion, disorientation, or change in mental status
  • large open wound, heavy bleeding
  • serious burn
  • head or spinal injury

Urgent care is a great option for non-life threatening health issues. You may be seen faster or you may be able to find an urgent care center closer to home than the hospital. However, if you have a serious problem or feel your life is in danger, always call 9-1-1 and use the emergency room.

Regional Medical Center offers excellent emergency care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can even check our website to find out how long a wait in our ER will be. It gets updated every 30 minutes. If you have any questions or would like help with a physician referral, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5119.

Related Posts:
It’s Time for an ER Visit! Are You Ready?
Top Tips for the ER Patient

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