Is it an Emergency? When to go to the ER

When you are sick or injured it is natural to want to rush to the emergency room, but if it isn’t an emergency, this can mean high wait times, high medical bills and high frustration. Before you head to the emergency room, it is important to make sure that what you are experiencing is in fact an emergency. If it is not, either making an appointment with your Primary Care Provider (PCP) or going to an urgent care facility is the best option.

Things such as mild allergic reactions, colds, the flu, insect bites, minor cuts, nausea and sprains are non-emergent needs. These need to be addressed by a PCP. Aliments such as chest pains, broken bones, high fevers, head injuries, severe pain or burns are all considered emergencies and should be treated at the ER.

An emergency is considered a life-threatening situation. If what you are experiencing is non-life threatening, call your PCP. If they are not available, an in-network urgent care is your best option, both financially, and medically.

If you can wait for you PCP, you should. Your PCP has your full medical history, while the ER and urgent care do not.


Below we have created an Emergency Flow Chart, it is a good point of reference for determining if what you are experiencing is an emergency. As always, use your best judgement.


emergency flow chart 4


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