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Doctor’s Office VS Emergency Room

Doctor’s Office VS Emergency Room

Often it’s pretty easy to handle a minor cut or scrape or upset stomach at home. We are used to seeing aisles at the pharmacy stocked with everything we need to get through life’s bumps and bruises on our own. But, when you’re in pain or really feeling sick, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to go for treatment – your doctor’s office, urgent care or even the Emergency Room?

The best place to get care for common illnesses, minor injuries and routine health exams is a doctor’s office. Your doctor can also help you manage your health over time. You should make an appointment with your doctor’s office for:

  • Common illnesses such as colds, flu, ear aches, sore throats, migraines, fever or rashes
  • Minor injuries such as sprains, back pain, minor cuts and burns, minor broken bones or minor eye injuries
  • Regular physicals, prescription refills, vaccinations, and screenings
  • A health problem where you need advice.
  • Treatment of chronic illness (diabetes, high blood pressure)
  • Usually open during regular business hours. May have extended hours

While many of us are comfortable making an appointment with our general practitioner,

injury and illness can appear out of the blue and outside of office hours. When your doctor is not available, urgent care clinics or the ER should be able to help you. Urgent care clinics provide attention for non-life threatening medical problems or problems that could become worse if you wait. They provide walk-in appointments and are often open seven days a week with extended hours.

In the event that you are experiencing very serious or life threatening problems, it’s important to get to an emergency room. Unlike urgent care centers, emergency rooms are equipped and staffed for even the most complex critical needs, including life- and limb-threatening situations ranging from heart attack and stroke to traumatic injuries. There are a number of medical conditions that are considered emergencies because they can require rapid or advanced treatments (such as surgery) that are only available in a hospital setting.  Go to the nearest hospital emergency room if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Severe burns
  • Deep cuts or bleeding that won’t stop
  • Sudden blurred vision
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or loss of coordination, balance or consciousness
  • Numbness in the face, arm or leg
  • Sudden, severe headache (not a migraine)
  • Seizures
  • High fevers (greater than 102.5)
  • Suspected poisoning or overdose
  • Thoughts of harming self or others

In a medical emergency or when in doubt, call 911. Do not drive to the hospital if you have severe chest pain or bleeding, feel like you may faint, if your vision is impaired or if you are having symptoms of heart attack or stroke. If you need to speak with your doctor or would like to learn more about becoming a patient at Rodgers Health, please call 816.474.4920 for an appointment today.