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Should I Go to the ER or Urgent Care?

November 17, 2022

Should I go to the emergency room or urgent care? At some point in your life, you may need to make that decision for yourself or someone you love. It could play an important role in whether you receive the quickest and most effective care.

Head to the Nearest ER

It can be scary when you or someone you know needs urgent medical care – especially after hours or when you can’t go to a primary care physician. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a trip to the emergency room may be necessary.

Go to the emergency room if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Uncontrolled seizures
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or choking
  • Uncontrolled heavy bleeding or bleeding that won’t stop with direct pressure
  • Sudden dizziness or change in mental status
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Drug overdose or poisoning
  • Major burn to head, chest, or abdomen
  • Head injury

Use Urgent Care

Urgent care or convenience clinics are best for minor emergencies. They provide same-day treatment for common illnesses or injuries when your primary care physician is unavailable.

Go to urgent care when you need same-day treatment for:

  • Allergies or asthma
  • Animal or insect bites
  • Back pain
  • Cold, flu, or fever
  • Infections
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Minor Burns
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Sprains or strains

Know When to Go

These symptoms are only guidelines. If you are unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and come to the ER or call 911. You never know if a situation will rapidly turn critical.

Whatever setting you choose, Grady’s team of healthcare professionals is here to provide quality care to anyone who needs it, whether it’s an emergency or not. We also offer on-demand video visits for your convenience. And Grady’s Walk-In Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointment is needed.

For more information or to schedule your appointment online, visit, use MyChart, or call (404) 616-1000.

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