Urgent Care or ER: Where Should You Go?

Emergency room doctor performing surgery


When there are changes to your body, you automatically assume the worst. A sickness is detrimental and one symptom could mean something more serious.

This paranoia becomes more severe when you Google your symptoms (which you should never do!) and you’re suddenly a hypochondriac.

Because of this paranoia, most people visit the ER for something as minor as a sore throat or a fever. In reality, these symptoms are mild. You can go to an urgent care facility, which saves you time and money.

If you think you need medical attention for an ailment, here are ways you know to visit the urgent care or ER.

When You Need to Visit the ER

There’s a reason the ER stands for “emergency room” — you go to the ER for emergencies. This is when your long-term health or life is at stake, and you need immediate medical attention.

The ER is located in a hospital or medical facility and operates 24 hours and all seven days of the week.

Here are examples of appropriate ER visits.

Sudden or Severe Pain

A sore throat or a backache may seem like severe pain. But severe pain means you’re unable to walk, function properly, or the pain has been stagnant for as long as a week.

For example, you’ll experience severe pain when you have kidney stones because they may need to be surgically removed.

While a migraine doesn’t always constitute an ER visit, a migraine lasting a week required an ER visit because it may lead to a stroke.

A Severe Accident

A car accident, sudden fall, or wrecks that cause bodily injury are examples of an accident. Depending on the physical damage, you’ll experience lifelong physical issues if you don’t experience ER care.

But not all accidents require an ER visit. If you were in a car accident and experience severe bleeding, a broken limb or paralysis, you’ll need to visit the ER. But if you were in a mild fender bender, an ER visit isn’t necessary.

When to Visit Urgent Care

If you experience non-life threatening ailments, an urgent care visit is all you need. These days, urgent care facilities offer amenities such as blood testing labs and x-rays. Here’s when you need to go to urgent care.

Common Symptoms

There are symptoms that could point to different ailments. These include vomiting, stomach pain, headaches, fatigue, and fever. These could mean something mild or severe.

It’s best to visit an urgent center and then see if you need to go to the ER.


If you show symptoms of an STI, such as painful urination or off-colored discharge, an urgent care visit is all you need. They can check for STIs in their facility and prescribe antibiotics.

This is different if you show signs of herpes or HIV. You won’t need to visit the ER, but you’ll have to visit a specialty clinic.

Sprained Limb

This is different than a broken limb — a sprained limb is an injury to the muscle or tendon. You get a sprained limb when working out or doing normal physical activities.

These are mild and heal pretty quickly. To ensure you get the best care, go to an urgent care facility.

Do You Need to Go to the Urgent Care or ER?

When you experience physical issues, it’s common to wonder if you need to see the urgent care or ER. Unless it’s life-threatening or will affect your long-term health, you only need to see an urgent care facility.

Today, urgent care facilities offer the same benefits as the ER, such as x-rays. There’s no reason to wait and spend lots of money.

Are you in Starkville? Visit our urgent care facility.