Chest pain or difficulty breathing : Emergency Room
Is your injury or illness really an emergency? Don’t go to an ER for a common cold, sore throat, a sprained ankle or even chest pain from gas or indigestion. An urgent care center can typically treat such conditions faster and more efficiently, notes Consumer Reports. And if you have a life-threatening emergency, like difficulty breathing, call 911 instead of driving yourself. Urgent care centers are best suited for dealing with non-life threatening medical issues like cuts that need stitches, minor burns and broken bones. Most can provide basic treatment for heart attacks and seizures, but they typically don’t carry all of the lifesaving equipment found in hospitals. If you think it might be a serious condition, head straight to an emergency room.
If you have chest pain or trouble breathing, go straight to an emergency room—do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Chest pain and difficulty breathing are two of the most urgent symptoms there are, and if you experience either one, don’t wait: get help as soon as possible. In addition to having more advanced diagnostic equipment than urgent care facilities and a greater ability to treat life-threatening conditions, emergency rooms are also staffed with highly trained doctors and nurses who can perform more intensive procedures (like surgery). To avoid unnecessary hassles with paperwork and billing, head straight for an ER if it’s urgent. Your insurance will pay your emergency room bill, whereas it may not cover costs associated with a trip to urgent care.
If you’re experiencing either of these symptoms, it’s important that you get help right away. According to one study in Archives of Internal Medicine, only 8 percent of people who visit an emergency room for chest pain receive necessary treatment and go on to make a full recovery. Also, don’t forget that one reason to head straight for an ER is if you think you are having a heart attack (it happens!). In general, call 911 immediately if your symptoms feel life-threatening.