Emergency or Primary Care?

What to know about where to go

Emergency room sign

When you’re not feeling well, it’s not always clear what your action plan should be. Is it time to go to the ER? Or can it wait for primary care? Knowing when and where to go can save you time, money, and maybe even your life.

Scenario One: Fever! Sore throat! Is it time for the ER? Not quite. While you don’t need to rush to the hospital, you should nevertheless make an appointment with primary care right away. A fever is never a good sign, so skipping the doctor entirely is a bad idea. Your primary care provider will diagnose you, give you tips for feeling better, and help you prevent spreading your illness to others.

Scenario Two: Heartburn, all the time. Heartburn is keeping you awake at night and you’ve just had it with the pain and discomfort. Should you head to the ER? No. Chronic heartburn is often the sign of something more serious, however, it’s not usually something that calls for a trip to the ER. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider right away. He or she will offer solutions and next steps.

Scenario Three: You felt ill yesterday and today you woke up and are having trouble breathing. Time for the ER? YES. Breathing problems and chest pains should ALWAYS be taken seriously. Have a doctor evaluate you right away.

It’s not always easy to know when and where to go when it comes to your health. Use these scenarios as guidelines, but don’t hesitate to contact Howard Memorial Hospital at 870-845-4400 if you are ever unsure.

Posted in:  Health