When you have an unexpected injury or illness, is it better to go to an urgent care center or the emergency room? It's important to understand your options.
When to go to an Urgent Care Center
Is your life in danger? If not, you don't have to go to the Emergency Room. For a surprising number of illnesses and injuries, it's faster and less expensive to go to an urgent care center. You can get immediate attention for allergies, rash or hives, minor eye injuries, dehydration, urinary symptoms, scrapes or lacerations, sprains or possible fractures, stings and bites, minor burns, or conditions needing X-rays or laboratory tests.
When to go to the Emergency Room
If you have medical event or accident that could cause serious harm or death, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital Emergency Room as quickly as possible. Typical life-threatening situations include chest pain, severe bleeding, difficulty speaking or breathing or some other major trauma. The Emergency Room is not your best choice if you have an injury or illness that a few stitches or a medication could solve.