When Should I Go to the Emergency Room vs Urgent Care?

How do you know whether you should seek Emergency Care or Urgent Care? Winona Health’s Emergency Department never turns patients away, but keeping our Emergency Department open for true emergencies is important for the patients that need critical care immediately. Below is a guide to help you decide which facility is the best option to treat you. Please use this as a guide only. This is not intended to be a tool to diagnose injuries or illnesses. When in doubt, call 911.

Urgent Care: Minor injuries and illnesses (in general)

  • If the illness or injury is something you’d normally see your family doctor for, but you are not able to get an appointment right away or it’s after hours, urgent care is the right choice. Bring your insurance card, photo ID and a list of current medications.
  • Sprains, strains or possible broken bones
  • Headaches, stomach aches, sore throats
  • Coughs, ear infections, fever, colds, flu
  • Minor burns, lacerations which may require stitches or animal bites
  • Worker’s compensation injuries

Emergency Department: Severe injuries and illnesses (in general)

If the illness or injury seems more critical than something you’d see your primary care doctor for or if you need care in the middle of the night, seek emergency care. Emergency care is the starting point for these issues:

  • Complex fractures or bones protruding through the skin
  • Head injuries, or a sudden, very severe headache or loss of vision (could be the sign of a stroke)
  • Chest pain or heart attack symptoms – call 911
  •  Serious lacerations, severe bleeding or poisoning
  • Intoxication, overdose or attempted suicide

 

Emergency Medicine
855 Mankato Avenue
Winona, MN 55987

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