Should You Go To The Emergency Room?
How To Know Which Medical Facility To Go To and When
When you become ill or injured, it is difficult to know whether to see your primary care provider, go to an urgent care clinic, or to the emergency room. What is the difference between all three of these providers and when should you go to each facility?
Nurse Line: Calling your insurance company’s 24-hour nurse line can be the quickest, most convenient, and least expensive way to get questions answered regarding minor medical conditions or choosing the appropriate level of care.
Primary Care Provider: A primary care provider should be seen whenever possible if the medical concern is not an emergency. A primary care physician is someone who knows you and your medical history very well, and this will work to your advantage. Not to mention that seeing your regular doctor is typically less costly than visiting urgent care or an emergency room.
Primary Care Alternative: If your primary care doctor is unavailable to see you, a primary care alternative, such as Convenient MD, is the next best choice.
Urgent Care: An urgent care clinic should be visited when you have a medical problem that you are concerned about and cannot see your doctor soon enough. An urgent care clinic will deal with medical concerns such as colds, flu, ear infections, sore throat, migraine, fevers, rashes, and mild injuries such as a sprain or a minor break.
Emergency Room: In the simplest terms, an emergency situation is where someone has the chance of dying or becoming permanently disabled, this would warrant a trip to the emergency room. Signs of an emergency include but, are not limited to:
- Trouble breathing
- Sudden, unusual headache
- Suddenly not being able to speak, walk, or use limbs
- Heavy bleeding
- Broken bone
- Serious burns
- High fever that is associated with a stiff neck, or does not go away with medication
The next time you need to see the doctor, think about which facility would suit your needs best! If you have a medical concern on campus, visit UNH Health & Wellness.