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When to go to the ER vs. Urgent Care

Do you know when you should go to the ER vs. Urgent Care?

Many people do not know what conditions they should go to the Emergency Room (ER) vs. what an urgent care can handle.

Emergency rooms are not always the fastest choice for your medical care needs-and definitely not the most cost effective.

Don’t jeopardize your health. Here’s some helpful info.er vs. urgent care
Urgent Cares

Urgent care is mostly focused on primary care involving individual medical complaint or condition, such as a urinary tract infection, minor laceration, red eye, broken bones, allergic reaction without airway compromise, or other conditions that can easily be managed by your primary care physician. Urgent cares can usually handle problems like stitches, sprains and X-rays. Things that need immediate attention, but aren’t life threatening.

Urgent care advantages:

  • No Appointment needed
  • Can take care of most non-emergent conditions
  • Shorter wait times than typical ER’s
  • Saves money – Lower  co-pay or co-insurance than an ER visit

Emergency Room

Go to the ER if . . .
  • You think you are having a heart attack or a stroke.
  • You think you are having a miscarriage.
  • You are coughing up bright red blood, vomiting blood, or are hemorrhaging at a rapid rate.
  • You have suffered a significant head injury or blow to the head or neck.
  • You have intense abdominal pain, or intractable vomiting accompanied by severe abdominal pain.
  • You are experiencing a severe or extreme headache/ migraine, or pain anywhere in your body that is more than a “10” on a pain scale of “0 to 10,” with 0 being no pain at all and 10 being the worst pain you’ve had in your life.
  • You can’t stop an acute asthma attack (“status asthmaticus”), can’t catch your breath, or are having severe shortness of breath accompanied by pain in your chest when you breathe.
  • You are experiencing sudden vision loss or loss of your peripheral (“side”) vision.
  • You are having a seizure.
  • You suffered a back injury and have lost control of your bladder or bowels, have lost sensation in your buttocks, and/or can’t walk because your legs suddenly feel “like jelly.
  • You’re in diabetic ketoacidosis. Believe us, most diabetics know when they are in this potentially fatal state, because they’ve probably been hospitalized for it before, perhaps as a child or teenager. You can easily recognize them in the ER. They are breathing rapidly and deeply, with breath that smells like acetone. They may also have severe abdominal pain and be vomiting repeatedly and uncontrollably.We highly encourage all patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses to visit their nearest hospital or emergency room.
Here’s some helpful blog articles to learn more.

West Valley Urgent Care offers three locations in the Phoenix valley to serve you.