Should I Go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care? - PIH Health

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Published on November 02, 2017

Should I Go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

Doctor looking in child's ear

Doctor looking in child's earWhen you or a loved one is experiencing a health problem, determining what to do or where to go can be confusing. Here are a few guidelines.

If you’re experiencing a serious injury or life-threatening emergency, call 911.

The emergency room is your best choice for symptoms like:

  • Chest pain and symptoms of heart attack
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Severe breathing problems
  • Bleeding injuries
  • Major injuries, especially head injuries
  • Serious burns
  • Broken bones
  • Poisoning
  • Major allergic reactions

PIH Health has emergency rooms at its Whittier and Downey hospitals.

Urgent care saves time and money:

For conditions that are not serious, urgent care is faster and more cost effective than the emergency room. You can walk in to receive care—no appointment is needed. Urgent care centers can provide care for routine illnesses and injuries, such as:

  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Earaches
  • Bladder/vaginal infections
  • Mild asthma flare-ups
  • Minor lacerations
  • Back pain
  • Stomach problems
  • Joint pains
  • Sprains/strains
  • Rashes

“Urgent care center physicians and staff will check you over and, if needed, provide treatment, perform basic tests and X-rays and write prescriptions, or even transport you directly to the appropriate hospital for additional intensive treatment. ” explained Roberto Madrid MD, vice president, Medical Group Operations, PIH Health.

PIH Health has urgent care centers in Whittier, Hacienda Heights and Santa Fe Springs.

For more information on PIH Health Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Centers, visit

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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