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Health Education

Urgent Care vs. Emergency Care: "Where do I go?"

Is it an emergency? An emergency is sickness or injury that will harm you if not treated fast. In the past, visiting the ermergency room (ER) was the only way to get necessary medical care when your doctor was not available. Today, urgent care centers offer a quality care alternative with shorter wait times when faced with a non-life-threatening illness or injury. How do you decide which health care setting is best for you?

Emergency Room - Immediately dial 911

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Chest pain
  • Spinal injuries
  • Major broken bones
  • Large open wounds
  • Major burns
  • Severe head injury
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Sudden change in vision
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sudden weakness or trouble talking

If you visit the emergency room, please follow-up with a visit to your primary care doctor after your ER visit.

Urgent Care - Not an emergency but still needs attention now

  • Minor injuries
  • Eye redness
  • Fever or flu symptoms
  • Minor broken bones (e.g. finger)
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sore throat
  • Minor sprains and strains
  • Minor cuts (that may require a few stitches)
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Skin rashes and infections
  • X-rays

Not an emergency? See your primary care doctor.

Not only is your primary care doctor the best choice for when you are sick, injured or needing vaccinations, but also when you are feeling well. It is important to see your primary care doctor at least once a year to go over your medical history and craete a preventive care plan to keep you healthy.

For a list of urgent care locations near you, call our toll-free number at 1-800-956-8000, Option 5.

PrimeCare is pleased to provide access to the following wellness and health information resources all for free.

MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for YouEn Espaňol
MedlinePlus ® (MedlinePlus.gov) is the National Institutes of Health's Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. Source: About Medline Plus.

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merckEngage ® A free, online resource which includes healthy recipes, ideas for getting fit, and practical planning tools for better health.

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