ER or Urgent Care?

Many of us, at one time or another, have visited an emergency room (ER) or an urgent care location as a patient or to support a family member or friend. And with the increased availability of after-hours medical care facilities in our area, would you know where to go if, for example, you broke your wrist? What about a sprained ankle? A high fever? Intense abdominal pain? Extreme dizziness?

The Difference Between Emergency and Urgency

Because of the wide range of sudden illnesses and injuries that can happen to anyone at any given time, it’s not always clear which location, an (ER) or an Urgent Care, is right for the situation. Many people automatically assume that a trip to the ER is best for handling any type of sudden illness or injury, but the truth is that ERs and urgent care locations are equipped to handle specific situations.

Commonly Treated in an Urgent Care:

  • General cold and flu symptoms: cough, sore throat, fever, aches and pains
  • Cuts and minor wounds that require stitches
  • Mild respiratory symptoms
  • Breathing difficulties, including mild to moderate asthma
  • Minor accidents or falls
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Minor burns, insect bites, rashes and mild allergic reactions
  • Minor fractures of wrist, hand, ankle or foot
  • Symptoms of gastrointestinal illness
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Rash without fever

Commonly Treated in an Emergency Room:

  • Broken bones and dislocated joints
  • Deep cuts that require stitches
  • Head or eye injuries
  • Head injury for someone who is on blood thinning medication
  • Severe flu or cold symptoms
  • Severe respiratory symptoms
  • Sudden change in mental state
  • High fevers
  • Fevers with rash
  • Fevers in infants (less that 60 days old)
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Severe pain (especially in the chest, abdomen or lower back)
  • Bleeding that won't stop
  • Vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain with pregnancy
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Serious burns
  • Seizures without a previous diagnosis of epilepsy
  • Overdoses or poisonings
  • Loss or change of vision
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or others

Call 9-1-1 When You Experience:

  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Symptoms of heart attack, including chest pain, pain in left arm, pain in jaw or sudden weakness or dizziness
  • Symptoms of stroke, including slurred speech, severe headache, weakness or numbness on one side of face or body, or loss of consciousness
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Any other life- or limb-threatening injury

If you have doubts about your or another person's condition, always visit the closest emergency room for care.

Learn More About Healthcare Services Provided Through Saint Francis

The physicians, staff and volunteers of Saint Francis Health System are dedicated to the healthcare of our communities in eastern Oklahoma. To learn more about services provided through Saint Francis, please call Saint Francis HealthLink at 918-488-6688