When an unexpected illness, injury, or other health event affects us or our children, it always seems like an emergency. When medical emergencies occur, most of us think of the emergency room first. However, in some cases, it may be better to forego the emergency room and visit urgent care instead.

When to Go to the Emergency Room

The emergency room is the best option for life threatening injuries and medical events. When a major accident occurs, there is uncontrollable bleeding, or a patient is showing symptoms that indicate a possible stroke or heart attack, the emergency room is required. The emergency room may also be the required option if an emergency occurs at a time when an urgent care center isn’t open.


The emergency room is the best bet for major medical problems because specialists and equipment are on hand that are needed to best treat these issues. Even surgery can be performed if needed.

When to Go to Urgent Care

Urgent care is the best option for injuries and ailments that are serious, but not immediately life threatening. Broken bones, animal bites, infections, dehydration, and illnesses are best treated in an urgent care setting. Urgent care may also be the best option if medical attention is needed at a time when a primary care office is closed.


Urgent care professionals are equipped to manage a variety of minor to moderate medical problems quickly. Visiting urgent care instead of the emergency room when urgent care is better suited to your needs helps physicians and specialists at both types of care centers to provide the best service possible.

How Choosing the Right Care Provider Benefits You

Choosing the right care provider can save you time and money while ensuring that you or your loved one receives the best care. A lower copay is typically required for urgent care visits than emergency room visits and the wait time is generally much shorter for urgent care. If the emergency room is required, knowing to go there right away can help you or your loved one receive the necessary care in a timely manner.

How Choosing the Right Care Provider Benefits Everyone

Visiting the care provider that is best able to serve you in your time of medical need can be beneficial for the other patients and may help to improve overall medical care. It’s estimated that approximately 71 percent of emergency room visits could have been avoided. By visiting the appropriate care provider, you help to reduce wait times, which could improve outcomes and even save lives.