Do You Need Urgent Care or the ER?


If you’re experiencing a health issue that can’t wait for your next appointment with your primary care provider, you may wonder if you should go to the local emergency room (ER) or urgent care.

At Prima Medicine, we understand that figuring out how to decide between the two is confusing. Our providers want you to know when to go to the ER and when to use one of our Immediate Care centers in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia.

Take a moment to learn when urgent care is the right choice for medical issues.

When you should visit urgent care

Urgent care is a great option that lies somewhere between your primary care provider and the ER. Our immediate care center offers fast and affordable urgent care, often at a lower cost than going to the ER.

Urgent care is a good option when you’re going through a non-life-threatening medical issue that needs attention sooner than you can get an appointment with your primary care. Our immediate care providers offer treatment for urgent medical issues such as:

  • Minor cuts and wounds requiring stitches
  • Fever and chills
  • Eye irritation
  • Rashes and hives
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sprains and strains
  • Ear infections
  • Flu or COVID-19 symptoms
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Strep throat or throat pain

When you go to Prima Immediate Care, our providers evaluate your urgent medical issue and review your overall health, taking a holistic approach to your healthcare. Doing this ensures you get the right help for ongoing wellness.

Depending on your condition, your urgent care provider may recommend additional office visits to monitor and evaluate your progress. They also give you the resources and referrals you need if you could benefit from additional testing or an appointment with a specialist.

When to head to the ER

For life-threatening medical emergencies or an injury that requires immediate and advanced medical treatment, it’s always best to go to your local ER or call 911.

Situations requiring the emergency room include things like:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Most seizures
  • Lightning strikes
  • Severe electrical shock
  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side
  • Sudden slurred speech
  • Sudden changes in mental state
  • Severe cuts, head, or eye injuries
  • Serious burns
  • Bleeding when pregnant
  • Loss of consciousness

If you or a loved one experiences one of the situations above, heading to the ER is the best choice.

However, remember that the medical teams at the ER must prioritize the most serious and life-threatening conditions. If you go to the ER with a non-life-threatening condition or injury, you’re likely going to wait hours to receive care.

To avoid waiting for treatment for a non-life-threatening issue at the ER, visit one of our Immediate Care centers in Fairfax or South Riding, Virginia. Give us a call or book online for a same-day appointment.

Schedule a Consultation

* All indicated fields must be completed. Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.
By entering your phone number, you agree to receive text messages according to our terms of use and privacy policy.

Accessibility Toolbar