Primary, Urgent and ER Care
How to Know Which You Need
When you’re injured or ill, it can be hard to decide where to go for the right treatment. For sure, if you have a life- or limb-threatening injury, call 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
Sometimes it’s not as clear if you should call your primary care provider, stop by urgent care or visit the ER.
Here are some ideas which kind of care is most appropriate for typical conditions.
The emergency room is the best place to go when you have an illness or injury that could threaten your life or threaten a limb. Please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room when you experience:
- Severe abdominal pain.
- Severe allergic reaction.
- Severe asthma attack
- Severe bleeding.
- Bluish lips or face.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Broken bone with dislocation.
- Severe burns.
- New confusion or inability to wake.
- Dislocated large joint.
- Sudden dizziness or loss of coordination.
- Fainting/change in mental state.
- Head injury (with loss of consciousness, age over 65 or on blood thinners).
- Cuts that are severe, go through infected skin, are very contaminated with debris, or include numbness or significant tissue loss.
- Cuts to specialized areas like eyelids or nasal cartilage.
- Cuts combined with a fracture, amputation or joint space involvement.
- Deep puncture wounds.
- Persistent pain or pressure in your chest or concern of a heart attack.
- Slurred speech.
- Major trauma.
- Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy.
- Sudden vision loss.
- Sudden weakness/numbness on one side.
- Serious thoughts of self-harm or harm to others.
Urgent care is best for illness or injury that can’t wait a day or two for primary care but isn’t life- or limb-threatening. Some of these include:
- Mild to moderate abdominal pain.
- Minor allergic reactions, including rashes and bug bites/stings.
- Seasonal allergies.*
- Animal bites.
- Mild to moderate asthma.
- Back pain.
- Minor burns (see below).*
- Small cuts that may require stitches.
- Ear pain.
- Eye redness, discharge or itchiness.
- Flu symptoms.*
- Minor fractures.
- Mild to moderate headaches.
- Painful urination.
- Pink eye.*
- Sinus infection.*
- Sore throats.
- Sports physicals.
- Strep throat.*
- Urinary tract infections.*
* These conditions can also be checked with a virtual urgent care visit.
Your primary care provider knows you best and is a great person to see when you’re sick or injured, as long as your condition can wait for a day or two. Typical primary care situations include:
- Minor illness or generally not feeling well.
- Chronic pain or illness.
- Seasonal allergies.
- Cold and flu symptoms.
- Annual wellness/preventive visits.
- Mental health diagnosis and management.
- Lifestyle and nutritional changes.
- Medication management.
If you don’t have a primary care provider, now is the time to get established with one. Just click the button below or call (425) 688-5211, and we will help you get set up.