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Know Where to Go: ER or Urgent Care?

Whether it’s a fall in the park or a nasty stomach bug, the first instinct may be a trip to the emergency room. But not every accident or ailment requires ER attention. When life mishaps happen, it’s important to know where to go.

Is it an emergency?

For many conditions, such as heart attacks and stroke, rapid response is critical and will increase your chances of survival. Heavy bleeding, not being able to speak, sudden confusion, and drooping on one side of the body are some of the most serious problems that require immediate attention. Call 911 or visit the closest ER if you or anyone you know is experiencing any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath

  • Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness

  • Chest pain or upper abdominal pain lasting more than two minutes

  • Choking

  • Changes in vision

  • Head or spine injury

  • Injury due to a serious car accident, near drowning, burns or smoke inhalation, deep wounds

  • Coughing or vomiting blood

  • Uncontrolled bleeding

  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts

  • Unusual abdominal pain

When to consider Urgent Care

Typically, urgent care is the right choice for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. It’s also a good choice when you’re feeling under the weather and can’t get in to see your primary care doctor immediately. For instance, if you’re concerned about your child’s low-grade fever and can’t see their pediatrician soon enough, your local urgent care center is the best next stop.

Other conditions for which you can go to an urgent care center include:

  • Animal bites

  • Minor cuts, sprains, or minor broken bones

  • Common illnesses, such as colds, the flu, earaches, allergies, sore throat, low-grade fevers

  • Rashes and skin problems

If you or a loved one are experiencing a serious condition, call 911 or find the nearest ER. Dignity Health Bakersfield’s three emergency rooms are open 24/7 and have specially trained doctors and other skilled health professionals who can handle these concerns and many others.

Rest easy. Expert emergency care is close by. Schedule your check-in online and wait from the comfort of your home until it’s time to arrive. Click here to learn more.



Know When to Go to the ER (