ER vs. Clinic: Which to Choose?
Hospital emergency rooms are stretched thin by almost 130 million visits a year. Many of these visits are triggered by complaints that could be handled more efficiently at same-day clinics or pharmacy care centers. How do you know which to choose?
Go to the emergency room (or call an ambulance) if you or a friend experience any of these serious symptoms:
• Persistent chest pain
• Persistent shortness of breath
• Severe pain, especially in the abdomen or the lower back
• Loss of balance or fainting
• Difficulty speaking or thinking clearly
• Sudden, severe headache
On the other hand, most same-day clinics are able to treat these routine health problems:
• Fever (except in the case of a newborn infant)
• Minor trauma such as cuts and sprains
• Urinary tract infections
• Severe sore throat
• Nausea and vomiting
• Minor eye irritation
A clinic will also be able to advise you to go to the emergency room if your condition is more serious than you realize.