Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Room

We’ve all been there as patients; sick on the weekend, trip and twist an ankle. What do you do if your primary care doctor is gone for the day or weekend?

Non-life-threatening emergencies can be treated at an urgent care. If you’re having a life-threatening emergency such as chest pain or a serious head injury, a trip to the emergency room is in order.

What is considered an emergency?

  • severe chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • compound fracture (bone protrudes through skin)
  • convulsions, seizures or loss of consciousness
  • fever in newborn younger than 3 months old
  • deep knife or gunshot wounds
  • moderate to severe burns covering a large area of the body
  • poisoning
  • severe head, neck or back injury
  • pregnancy-related problems
  • severe abdominal pain
  • signs of a heart attack (chest pain lasting longer than two minutes)
  • signs of stroke (loss of vision, sudden numbness, weakness, slurred speech)
  • suicidal or homicidal feelings

What is considered a non-life-threatening urgent medical condition?

  • accidents and falls resulting in extremity or minor head injury
  • sprains and strains
  • back pain
  • breathing difficulties (mild to moderate asthma)
  • bleeding/cuts (requiring sutures)
  • eye irritation and redness
  • fever or flu
  • vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration
  • severe sore throat or cough
  • minor broken bones and fractures (fingers, toes)
  • skin rashes and infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • mild to moderate allergic reactions
  • seasonal allergies
  • headaches

If you’re in doubt, get it checked out. Sometimes you may feel fine after a trip or fall, but could/will feel worse the next day when inflammation and pain set in.

IHA Call Center Triage Nurses and Office Triage Nurses can be utilized to assist in decision making on where to go. Call us first: 734.995.2950

IHA has three urgent care locations and one after hours location, all open after normal work hours and on the weekends, with slightly altered hours on holidays. Click here for a comprehensive service list for our locations.


IHA After Hours Care – Brighton

IHA Urgent Care – Domino’s Farms

IHA Urgent Care – Livingston

IHA Urgent Care – WestArbor

This article was originally published on September 29, 2014, and was updated on November 18, 2016.

Welcome Lisa Kurajian, DO

Please join us in welcoming Lisa Kurajian, DO, to IHA Family Medicine – Arbor Park. Dr. Kurajian has clinical interests in preventive care, nutrition and smoking cessation. She is board-eligible in family medicine and have additional training in osteopathic manipulative treatment. To learn more about Dr. Kurajian, or to schedule an appointment, visit click here.