When to Go to Urgent Care Vs. the ER

Sacred Heart ER accepts patients whether they no matter their healthcare needs, but doctors are commonly asked what the difference is between an ER or urgent care and what warrants a trip to either destination. The answer depends on the urgency of your ailment: If the medical problem threatens life or limb, then you should go to the nearest emergency department or call 9-1-1 for immediate medical attention. An urgent care clinic is not equipped to handle life-threatening illnesses or injuries. If your medical problem cannot wait or you do not wish to wait to see your primary care doctor, you can go to a walk-in urgent care facility, instead. 

Medical Emergencies Where Requiring Emergency Room Treatment

Examples of a medical emergency in which you should go to the emergency room rather than an urgent care clinic include: 

  • Chest pain 
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe asthma attacks
  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • Intense head pain
  • Head trauma
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Broken bones that protrude through the skin
  • Severe lacerations or open wounds
  • High fever
  • Severe back pain
  • Car accident injuries
  • Heat stroke/exhaustion

Conditions Best Treated at Urgent Care

Other conditions that are less severe in nature can be treated at a walk-in urgent care facility. These include: 

  • Abrasions
  • Bronchitis
  • Foreign body removal
  • Sprains
  • Abscesses
  • Burns
  • Fractures
  • Splinters
  • Aches
  • Viral infections
  • Colds and the flu
  • Sports injuries
  • Allergies
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Stomach upset
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Animal bites
  • Gynecological ailments
  • Asthma
  • Ear infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Backache
  • Ear injury
  • Rashes
  • Bacterial infection
  • Falls
  • Sore throat/strep

If you are unsure whether your medical condition is a medical emergency, err on the side of caution and go to the emergency room or call our standalone emergency department at (713) 597-6609 for 24/7 care. Contact us online for non-urgent questions.

  • "Everyone who participated in my care did so with kindness and efficiency that exceeded anything I have ever experienced at any emergency facility, either when I was the patient or when I was accompanying the patient. Let me again say thank you to everyone "
    William G.
  • "My visit isn’t even finished and I’m super impressed already. I spent seven hours in the emergency room at the hospital left and came here. There was no wait, I was able to see the doctor right away, and the personality of the staff is just phe"
    Tracy W.
  • "I really appreciate how professional and caring all of the team members were. If you ever find yourself in a situation that warrants emergency care, do not hesitate to go here, you will be well taken care of."
    Kim P.
Why Choose Us?
  • Open 24/7 Including Holidays
  • Serving Our Community Since 2011
  • Family Friendly & loved by Families
  • Spanish, Korean, & Chinese Consultations Available
  • Offering Payment Plans Upon Request
We're a Clinic that Cares Contact Our Offices

Whether you have questions or you're ready to get started, our team is ready to help. Complete our form or contact us today at 713-597-6609.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.