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When To Go To The ER

The Emergency Room was designed to provide fast, life-or-limb-saving care. Many people, however, use the ER as a place to receive urgent care without realizing it. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s better to be safe and go to the closest ER. Continue reading to see when you should go to an ER and when to go to an urgent care center.

How to know when to go to the Emergency Room (ER)!

When an emergency strikes, you know you need medical care fast. But what if you’re not sure if it’s a true emergency? How can you tell if what you or a loved one is experiencing should have you rushing to the ER?

Knowing the difference between urgent care and emergency care could save your life in an emergency.

These are just a few of the health problems that are medical emergencies:

  • Chest pain that won’t go away, especially if it spreads to your arm or jaw.
  • Sweating and vomiting.
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing that won’t go away.
  • Strong pain in the abdomen or starting halfway down the back.
  • Loss of balance or fainting.
  • Difficulty speaking or confused.
  • Weakness or can’t move (paralysis).
  • Your heart beats really strong and fast.
  • Sudden, really bad headache.
  • Sudden bad pain and swelling in the genital area or testicles.
  • Newborn baby with a fever.
  • Intestinal bleeding.
  • Anytime you fall and get hurt and you are taking blood thinner pills.
  • Loss of vision.
  • Head and eye injuries.
  • Broken bones or dislocated joints.
  • Deep cuts that need stitches – especially on the face.
  • Bad flu or cold symptoms.
  • High fevers or fevers with rash.
  • Bleeding that won’t stop or a large open wound.
  • Vaginal bleeding with pregnancy.
  • Repeated vomiting.
  • Serious burns.
  • Seizures without a previous diagnosis of epilepsy.

When to call 9-1-1

Sometimes driving yourself or a loved one to the emergency room won’t get you the medical care needed fast enough.

Many people are confused about when to call 911. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you are in doubt, please call 911. Do not drive if you are having really bad chest pain or bleeding, if you feel like you might faint or if it is hard to see.  For certain medical emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, taking an ambulance is safer because paramedics can deliver life-saving care on the way to the hospital.

When to call CommWell Health

If your symptoms come on gradually or you already know the diagnosis, such as a urinary tract infection, you may want to try to get a same day appointment with your CommWell Health provider and health care team. While urgent care clinics are always available, your CommWell Health provider and health care team will have a better picture of your overall health for a more accurate diagnosis. You can call us day or night to answer your questions.

We can take care of your urgent needs by calling for a same day appointment. Evening and weekend hours and walk-ins welcome.  Please see our locations page for more information on our facilities, services offered.

Be prepared for medical care

Whether you’re going to urgent care, the ER or your CommWell Health center, put your medications including over-the-counter medications and vitamins in a bag and bring them with you. Many medications, and even vitamins, can interact with the treatment options your doctor plans to use.  Keep a list of any allergies, especially to medications with you.  Also make sure you tell your doctor about any previous invasive medical procedures and surgeries, the dates they were done and the names of the doctor or surgeon who treated you.


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