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When to Come to the Emergency or Urgent Care

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care offers a unique patient experience with an emergency room and urgent care facilities both under one roof, making the choice of whether to seek emergency or urgent care treatment easy.

What is the difference between an ER & urgent care?

Doctors commonly hear this question: “Should I go to the emergency or urgent care for a medical issue?” The answer? It depends on the urgency of your problem. The primary difference between an ER and an urgent care is that urgent care centers are not equipped to handle life- and limb-threatening illnesses or injuries. If you have an issue requiring immediate medical attention, you should go to the nearest emergency department or call 911 for transportation to the hospital via ambulance. On the other hand, if you have a medical problem but cannot or do not want to wait to see your primary care doctor, you may seek urgent care clinic treatment instead.

Reasons to Seek An Urgent Care

Urgent care facilities provide prompt medical services for minor illnesses and injuries. Common conditions that can be treated in an urgent care include but are not limited to:

  • Asthma attacks.
  • Bladder infections.
  • Cuts that may need stitches.
  • High fever.
  • Minor burns.
  • Minor injuries like sprains, strains or simple fractures.
  • Seasonal allergies.
  • Severe headaches.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Strong pain.
  • Cold, cough, congestion and flu.
  • Ear infections.

Reasons to Seek Emergency Care Treatment

Examples of life-threatening medical emergencies when you should go to the ER include:

  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Uncontrollable bleeding.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Vomiting.
  • Fainting.
  • Stroke symptoms.
  • Heart issues.
  • Broken bones.
  • High fever.
  • Head injury.
  • Neck and back pain.
  • Motor vehicle accident injuries.
  • Heat exhaustion.

additional Reasons to Seek Emergency care Treatment

These symptoms indicate a medical problem that requires medical treatment, and you may want to go to the ER if your problem is more severe:

  • Insect bites, stings, allergic reactions: It’s possible to go into anaphylactic shock (the inability to breathe) if you are allergic to insect bites or venom. Even if you don’t have a severe allergic reaction, a doctor can help treat the pain and irritation these injuries typically cause.
  • Allergies: If you have a severe allergic reaction, it is a medical emergency. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, breaking out in hives, and vomiting. Please dial 911 or visit your closest ER if you believe you are having a serious medical emergency.
  • Burns: Our medical team treats all degrees of burns, which may be caused by a variety of ways. You should seek treatment if the burned area is greater than 3 inches, or if it affects the face, head, hands, feet, or a major joint.
  • Pink eye: Complications from conjunctivitis, commonly called pink eye, may warrant an ER trip, especially if the symptoms haven’t improved after a week.
  • Pneumonia: The flu can progress to a serious respiratory infection called pneumonia, which may require IV fluids, antibiotics, oxygen therapy, and other breathing treatments. Call 911 or visit your closest ER immediately if you have shortness of breath, a cough, chest congestion, or other signs of pneumonia.
  • Rash: Sometimes a rash is harmless, but you should go to the nearest ER if the rash is covering your entire body, if you notice the rash is spreading, or if you think an infection or allergic reaction could have caused it.
  • Back pain: Although time and rest may be all that’s needed to alleviate back pain, you should visit the ER if your pain is severe, it interferes with daily life, or if you have had a previous back injury that required treatment.
  • Headaches or head injuries: Everyone experiences a headache occasionally, but it could indicate a serious problem if you’ve received a blow to the head. Concussions should be treated in the emergency room.
  • Vomiting: If you have uncontrolled vomiting for more than 4 hours and you can’t even keep down clear fluids, you should go to the ER (especially if the patient is a young child or an elderly adult). Severe vomiting causes dehydration and requires IV fluids and nausea medication.
  • Accidental poisoning: Ingesting toxic substances like household cleaners or even overdosing on prescribed medication can indicate poisoning. Your local ER will quickly diagnose and treat the toxic imbalance.
  • Appendicitis: A burst appendix must be treated promptly because it can be life-threatening. Signs of appendicitis include sudden pains in the right side of the lower abdomen.
  • Asthma and breathing problems: Having trouble breathing would alarm anyone, but you should go to the ER if your breathing difficulties interfere with your routine functioning. Asthma attacks are treatable by our board-certified emergency physicians.
  • Blood clots: If you suspect you have a blood clot, you should go to the nearest ER. You may have a blood clot if you notice pain, heaviness, aching, itching, throbbing, or warmth in the area you are feeling discomfort.
  • Chemical exposure: If you have had direct contact or inhalation of toxic chemicals, we recommend going to the emergency department immediately if your eyes, nose, throat, chest, or skin are burning.
  • Dehydration: Your emergency room doctor can treat your dehydration with IV fluids as they monitor you for low pressure, rapid heart rate, or abnormal kidney function, which are the potentially severe consequences of dehydration.
  • Dizziness: You should immediately go to the ER if you have dizziness accompanied by imbalance while standing or walking, double vision, loss of vision, or if it is not eased by lying down. Do not drive yourself to the hospital if you feel dizzy.
  • Eye injuries: If your eyes have been subjected to obvious trauma that affects your vision, you should go to the ER. You might also want to go to the ER if your eyes feel painful, are red, swollen, or watering excessively.
  • Foreign body removal: If you or a child has inserted an object into an orifice or needs help removing something such as a lodged tampon that will not budge, our board-certified and ER-trained physicians can help.
  • High fever: Body temperature should be stable, at about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius. If your body temperature is higher than that, it could indicate a serious problem, such as a spreading infection.

With both an emergency and urgent care conveniently located under one roof, choosing where to go when you or your loved one is ill or injured shouldn’t be a financial decision. At ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care in Maumee, we make deciding easy, by providing all our patients access to an emergency room 24/7 and urgent care from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Here, we only bill for the care you need.