Concussion/confusion : Emergency Room
If you have a concussion, get medical attention immediately. But if you’re feeling confused after a fall or other trauma and you don’t have any other symptoms, you should go to urgent care, where doctors can focus on your particular set of symptoms and use tests like CT scans appropriately. If there’s anything seriously wrong with your head or brain, your life is in danger and going to an emergency room will save it—but only by avoiding unnecessary treatment or tests that could cause complications down the road. Urgent care centers are better equipped than most ERs because they treat fewer cases overall. They can also be significantly less expensive: In some states, costs can run as much as 10 times higher at an ER versus urgent care.
If you’re confused, your memory’s foggy or you’re experiencing a concussion, go to urgent care. Headaches, colds and flus: Urgent care can diagnose and treat many illnesses without an expensive trip to the ER. For example, you might see an urgent-care doctor for a quick diagnosis if you have chest pain that could be related to a heart attack. However, if chest pain is accompanied by other warning signs such as nausea or shortness of breath; use 911 or emergency services instead. If in doubt—go! In some cases calling 911 can save time.
Most patients with minor head injuries don’t need emergency care. Many are seen in urgent care facilities, but some might be evaluated at a doctor’s office instead. If you visit an emergency room for a head injury and show no symptoms of bleeding or other problems that would require immediate surgery, your doctor will probably give you advice about what to do if any symptoms develop in future. For example, he or she may tell you that headaches could indicate an ongoing injury and advise you on precautions you can take if they occur. It’s also important for doctors to know how many blows it took to cause your injury so they can determine whether there’s an increased risk of brain damage from multiple concussions in one year.