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Should you go to urgent care or the emergency department?

Graphic displaying images representing Urgent Care and the Emergency Department

When Illness or injury strike, you need to make a decision on where and when to get your health care. Sometimes it’s confusing to know when to go to the emergency room (think shark bite) and when urgent care would be a good option (think dog bite). We hope the below outline helps.

If the urgent care provider thinks you need a higher level of care, they will get you to the ER.

If your condition is life-threatening, call 911 or go to the emergency department immediately.

Urgent Care Is Best for Treating:

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

Go to the Emergency Department if You're Experiencing:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Head injury
  • Multiple injuries or a possible broken bone in an area like the ribs, skull, face or pelvis
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe bleeding
  • Sudden, severe dizziness, headache, paralysis, or weakness