Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care: Which Facility to Visit

Emergency Room

Imagine you are in a situation where a child in your care has fallen over. They are now crying with a bleeding wound. It is a weekend, and the pediatrician’s clinic is closed. What should you do? Realistically, you have a choice to bring the child to your local hospital’s emergency room, bring them to an urgent care center, or wait it out until you can have your child see their pediatrician.

If you chose the second or last choice, you made the right call! It is a better decision to choose to wait until your child’s pediatrician is available or to go to an urgent center. There is a good reason you should not go to the emergency room in this situation.

Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care

These are two terms that are easily interchanged by many people. When is a medical condition considered urgent, and when can it be deemed as an emergency? Many people think that they mean the same thing, but in medical terms, they do not. So how can you know which facility to visit?

The simple answer is that you should visit an emergency room when you have a life-threatening condition. In turn, you can go to an urgent care center when you have a medical condition that requires urgent medical attention but is not considered life-threatening. For example, if you have a cut that requires stitches, you should visit an urgent care center to get stitched up.

Why You Should Opt To Go To An Urgent Care Center

It is a much better choice for non-life-threatening injuries or medical conditions to go to an urgent care center rather than an emergency room. The medical professionals at an emergency room will not turn you away if you go to them with a non-life-threatening condition. They will still examine you and make sure you can get the treatment that you need. However, there may be people standing in line at the emergency room who may have more pressing medical concerns, and you will be taking resources away from them if you choose to go there.

Visiting an urgent care center is a much better alternative. They will have medical staff ready to provide treatment for your concern. They will also have doctors at some hours of the day to help diagnose illnesses and prescribe medicines and antibiotics if you need them.

When To Go To The Emergency Room

On the other hand, if your regular doctor’s office is closed and you have specific symptoms, you should go to the emergency room. Here are a few situations that warrant a visit to the ER.

  • If a baby less than two months old is running a fever higher than 100.4 degrees F
  • If you suspect you or your child has a broken bone
  • If the person has hit their head and lost consciousness
  • If there are signs of dehydration
  • If a seizure occurs
  • If the situation is a matter of life and death


It would be best if you discern whether or not the medical condition you are faced with is a life-threatening emergency or not. If you can avoid going to the emergency room when you do not have a life-or-death emergency, you may be able to save the life of someone who does.

Agile Urgent Care is a full-service, walk-in medical facility in New Jersey. We provide convenient, state-of-the-art, and affordable services for injuries or illnesses that can’t wait for your regular doctor but aren’t severe enough for a costly emergency room visit. Our doctors and nurses treat children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients. Come in and see us today to get the treatment you need.

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