Primary Care, Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

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With today’s many options for healthcare, it’s not always easy to determine the best course of action when you or a loved one is sick or hurt. When should you make an appointment with your doctor? How “urgent” is urgent care? Is it time to go to the emergency room?

Read on to learn how to make the right decision.

Primary Care

Your primary care provider (PCP) should be your first choice for care for acute and chronic illnesses because he or she is familiar with your medical history. Primary care offers comprehensive and continuous care. Visit your PCP for:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis/Joint Pain
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain
  • Back Pain
  • Acid Reflux
  • Management of All Chronic Diseases
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Disease Screening (Cholesterol, Diabetes, etc.)
  • Physicals or Yearly Check-ups
  • Medication Refills

Urgent Care

Outside of regular office hours or extended hours, the same acute, non-life threatening illnesses or injuries that you may normally go to your PCP for can be treated at an urgent care facility. An urgent care can give you immediate medical attention for common illnesses, usually without an appointment or long wait.

Now you can use your smartphone, tablet or computer to get a treatment plan and start feeling better faster with Ochsner Anywhere Care Urgent Care. Anywhere Care connects you with a licensed healthcare provider virtually, so you never have to leave your house. Virtual visits give you 24/7 access to care and can be a good substitute for a brick-and-mortar urgent care when you are extremely contagious, in a hurry or unable to travel. Visit your urgent care or try a virtual visit for:

  • Cold/Cough/Flu/Sinus Problems/Fever
  • Sore Throat/Strep Throat
  • Ear Pain or Infection
  • Eye Irritation or Pink Eye
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Minor Lacerations
  • Abscess/Insect and Animal Bites
  • Rashes and Minor Burns
  • Sprains, Strains and Possible Closed Fractures (No Open Wound)
  • Minor Head Injury
  • Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Mild Abdominal Pain
  • Mild Asthma Attack
  • Migraine or Mild Headache
  • Allergic Reactions or Allergies

Emergency Room

A visit to the emergency room is warranted only for potentially life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Wait times for non-life threatening conditions could exceed an hour or more in the emergency room. Go to the emergency room for the following:

  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath or a Severe Asthma Attack
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Loss of Consciousness or Fainting
  • Uncontrollable Bleeding
  • Broken Bone (with Deformity or Open Wound)
  • Seizures
  • Severe Abdominal Pain
  • Severe Headache
  • Weakness, Slurred Speech or Confusion
  • Major Head Injuries
  • Severe Burns
  • Severe Pain
  • Suicidal or Homicidal Thoughts
  • Loss of Eyesight

Still not quite sure where to go? Get the right care at the right place with this helpful chart.

Find out more about same-day appointments with Ochsner PCPs or hours and locations for urgent care clinics and emergency facilities at

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