Should You Go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

Should You Go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

The status of our health may change at any moment; at one moment you may be feeling great and the next you suffer an injury or you start to experience symptoms of an illness or any other medical condition. You may be walking, trip and injure your wrist or ankle or you or your child may spike a fever all of a sudden. Whenever you are faced with situations where our health is compromised and the symptoms seem to be too severe to be handled with home remedies, one usually finds themselves in a dilemma on whether to go to an emergency room or to urgent care. While both facilities are meant to handle medical situations that have to be looked at without delay, it is important to know the difference between emergency care and urgent care so that you can be able to tell what scenarios demand going an emergency room and when to go to urgent care. As is discussed in detail over at, urgent care clinics are reserved for situations which are serious enough not to be handled at home and you feel like you can’t wait until you get to see your regular doctor while emergency rooms are for those conditions that are life-threatening or limb-threatening. This article will look to highlight the scenarios that should lead to a visit to the emergency room and those where a visit to urgent care would suffice.

As mentioned above, emergency rooms are reserved for medical conditions that are life-threatening or limb-threatening, and as such require advanced treatment strategies and equipment that are only available here. First of we shall take at symptoms that usually indicate that you should head over to an emergency room and not urgent care as soon as possible. These includes symptoms that affect breathing such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, shallow breathing among others, symptoms leading to weakness and numbness especially on one side of the body, symptoms that affect speech such as slurred speech as well as those that lead to loss of consciousness and change in mental health such as memory loss, one appearing confused and disoriented as well as presenting with seizures among others. The above symptoms should always be taken seriously and should lead to one going over to an emergency room as they are usually the symptoms associated with a heart attack and stroke, which as we all know from discussions over at, are life threatening conditions.

Other instances when you should go to the emergency room and not urgent care is if you suffer serious injuries. This includes instances where you have suffered serious burns, with symptoms for 2nd and 3rd degree burns to be found in detail over at, if you have suffered cuts and injuries to the head and eye which includes cases of severe concussion, that is concussion involving loss of consciousness even if it is just momentary. Cases of serious bone breaks and dislocations, for instance cases where bone has pierced the skin among others, should also be handled over at an emergency room and not at urgent care as most of them require complex treatment methods such as surgeries which are not facilities that are to be found over at urgent care. Another instance when you should head over to an emergency room and not urgent care is if you suffer severe cuts that go deep, to an extent that the lower tissues are exposed. Speaking of cuts, facial lacerations should also only be handled at an emergency room, with the same applying for cases of where one has a fever to go with sever rash, vaginal bleeding with pregnancy as well as any cuts and injuries in the genital area.

Switching gears, as far as urgent care is concerned, one should head over there if they are exhibiting symptoms such as fever without a rash, persistent vomiting and diarrhea, symptoms of dehydration as well as moderate flu-like symptoms. minor injuries that have minor cuts and scrapes should also be handled over at urgent care and not an emergency room, with the same applying to cases of minor sprains and strains, that is those instances where ligaments and muscles haven’t completely ruptured. If you are exhibiting symptoms of conditions such as urinary tract infections as well as ear infections in children, with the symptoms for these infections to be found over at, then you should also head over to an urgent care clinic and not an emergency room. Other scenarios where a visit to urgent care would suffice include cases of insects bites, allergic reactions that are not severe, bronchitis, minor asthmatic reactions, minor back pain, minor burns or 1st degree burns, sore throat among other conditions that are not medical emergencies.

It is important to know when to go to an urgent care and when to go to an emergency room so that you don’t go to an emergency room when you don’t have to. What this does is that it crowds emergency rooms, increasing waiting times and blocking those that are suffering from actual medical emergencies from getting the help they need. To that effect, hope this article will come in handy, with more to be found on this expansive topic by checking out the ever reliable


More Posts


What is migraine? Migraine is a type of headache characterized by recurrent attacks of moderate to severe throbbing and pulsating pain on one side of

Heart Health

Posted on February 24, 2023 by ODPHP Health and Well-Being Matter is the monthly blog of the Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and