er vs clinic

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:   ER vs clinic?

ER vs Clinic: 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.