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Know Where to Go: ER or Urgent Care?

August 03, 2022 Posted in: Primary Care , Health & Wellness  2 minute read time


Whether it’s a fall in the park or a nasty stomach bug, the first instinct may be a trip to the emergency room. But not every accident or ailment requires ER attention. When life mishaps happen, it’s important to know where to go.

Is it an Emergency?

For many conditions, such as heart attacks and stroke, rapid response is critical and will increase your chances of survival. Heavy bleeding, not being able to speak, sudden confusion, and drooping on one side of the body are some of the most serious problems that require immediate attention. Call 911 or visit the closest ER if you or anyone you know is experiencing any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness
  • Chest pain or upper abdominal pain lasting more than two minutes
  • Choking
  • Changes in vision
  • Head or spine injury
  • Injury due to a serious car accident, near drowning, burns or smoke inhalation, deep wounds
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
  • Unusual abdominal pain

When to Consider Urgent Care

Typically, urgent care is the right choice for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. It’s also a good choice when you’re feeling under the weather and can’t get in to see your primary care doctor immediately. For instance, if you’re concerned about your child’s low-grade fever and can’t see their pediatrician soon enough, your local urgent care center is the best next stop.

Other conditions for which you can go to an urgent care center include:

  • Animal bites
  • Minor cuts, sprains, or minor broken bones
  • Common illnesses, such as colds, the flu, earaches, allergies, sore throat, low-grade fevers
  • Rashes and skin problems


CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Express Care is available for life’s non-threatening ailments and injuries, from stitches to sprains, seven days a week. Walk-ins are welcome or you may check in online. For more information, call 859.313.6200.

If you or a loved one are experiencing a serious condition, call 911 or find the nearest ER. CHI Saint Joseph Health doctors, specially trained and other skilled health professionals can handle these concerns and many others.

View a list of CHI Saint Joseph Health - Emergency Care locations.

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