Insurance Basics

Find the right care at the right time


We’ve all faced it before. Should I go to the emergency room, urgent care or my primary care physician (PCP)? When we’re in pain and we don’t know where to turn, it can be difficult to decide which symptoms warrant a visit immediately. Although both you and your doctor know what’s best for your healthcare, knowing which single symptoms can indicate something more serious can help you make the right decision in a moment when it matters most.


When your PCP can likely help*

  • Mild or moderate headache
  • Change in vision
  • Ear pain
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Changes in sleep or appetite
  • Frequent sadness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever or chills
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Back pain
  • Itchy, dry or red skin
  • Stomach pain
  • Frequent, painful or bloody urination
  • Bloody stool or diarrhea
  • Body aches
  • Joint pain or stiffness

When urgent care could help

  • Fever without a rash
  • Minor burns
  • Sprains and strains
  • Small cuts that may need stitches

When to visit the nearest emergency room

  • Head or eye injury
  • Loss of consciousness
  • New confusion
  • Severe vomiting
  • Sudden changes in speech
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe swelling in the face
  • Severe cold or flu symptoms
  • Fever in babies and toddlers
  • Fever with a rash
  • Numbness on one side
  • Persistent chest pain
  • Vaginal bleeding with pregnancy
  • Excessive bleeding or trauma
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Dislocated joints
  • Serious burns
  • Seizures
  • Severe cuts that may need stitches
  • Severe hives
  • Deep wounds

*If your PCP is unavailable, or you are experiencing symptoms after hours, please seek urgent care as needed.

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