Emergency Care

When you are sick or hurt, your first thought might be to go to the nearest Emergency Room. But it's important to know if it's the right place to go for care. 
 

What is Emergency Care?

An emergency is when a person could die or be permanently hurt. The Emergency Room (ER) provides care for these critical or life-threatening conditions. Emergency care can involve ambulance transport, health screenings, exams and tests. 

The ER is not for routine health care, and you may have to wait a very long time if you are not experiencing a true emergency. If you have a health problem like the flu or a minor burn and you can't see your regular doctor, you have the option of going to an Urgent Care Center.
 

What to Do in an Emergency

If your condition is life-threatening, call 911 or go the Emergency Room. Emergency care is covered at all times and in all places.

If you're not sure if you should visit the Emergency Room and need advice, you can:

When to Go to the Emergency Room

An emergency is when a person could die or be permanently hurt.  The Emergency Room (ER) provides care for critical or life-threatening conditions. Some examples of such conditions include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe chest pain or pressure
  • A sudden, bad headache
  • Suddenly not being able to speak, see, walk or move
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Having thoughts about hurting yourself
  • Seizures (uncontrollable violent spasms)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Poisoning or drug overdose
  • Severe wounds or broken bones
  • Head injury
  • Eye injury

If you think you have a health emergency, call 911 or go to the ER immediately.

When to Go to an Urgent Care Center

Urgent care is for non-life threatening conditions. Some examples of such conditions include:

  • A common illness like the flu
  • Minor fever or headache
  • Painful sore throat
  • Earache or sinus pain
  • Minor injuries like a sprained ankle
  • Back pain
  • Cuts or small wounds
  • Small burns
  • Rash or minor allergic reactions
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary tract infections​

Go to an Urgent Care Center when:

  • you need care for non-life threatening conditions 
  • you can’t get in to see your doctor soon enough
  • your doctor's office is closed and you need to see someone that same day