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ER or Urgent Care?

Which one should you go to?

Published online: Jun 06, 2022 Articles, East Idaho Health Michael C. Brandes
Viewed 1264 time(s)

When faced with a medical problem that requires immediate care, it’s often hard to determine if it’s an emergency or an urgent medical issue. Recognizing the differences between ‘emergency’ and ‘urgent’ care can be confusing because both terms imply there is a medical need that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. However, there are different reasons to visit a hospital emergency room versus an urgent care walk-in clinic. Use these tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

When to Visit the ER

In general, an emergency condition is one that can permanently impair or endanger the life of an individual. Some conditions that require a trip to the emergency room may include:

  • Compound fractures (broken bone through the skin)

  • Deep knife or gunshot wounds

  • Eye injury

  • High fever

  • Poisoning

  • Seizures or loss of consciousness

  • Serious head, neck or back injury

  • Severe abdominal pains

  • Severe burns

  • Severe chest pain or difficulty breathing

  • Signs of stroke or heart attack

Bingham Healthcare’s Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day in Blackfoot. But if it’s clear your loved one needs immediate care, dial 911 for any medical problem that appears to be life-threatening. For certain medical emergencies such as a heart attack or stroke, calling 911 for an ambulance is always the right decision. This is because paramedics often can begin delivering life-saving treatment on the way to the hospital.

When to Visit Urgent Care

Conditions that are not considered emergencies but still require care within 24 hours may be considered urgent medical conditions. These walk-in clinics help fill a vital gap when you become sick or injured, but you can’t wait for an appointment with your family doctor. Some examples include:

  • Allergic reactions

  • Breaks and minor broken bones & fractures

  • Ear infections

  • Eye irritation & redness

  • Fever or flu symptoms

  • Injuries from accidents & falls

  • Mild fevers

  • Respiratory illnesses

  • Sinus infections

  • Skin rashes & infections

  • Sore throat or cough

  • Sprains & strains

  • Stitches

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Bingham Healthcare’s Urgent Cares

If you or a loved one needs medical care that does not require a trip to the ER, all of our urgent cares throughout Eastern Idaho are currently open. However, for non-emergent situations, Bingham Healthcare has three urgent cares at the following locations:


1st Choice Urgent Care & Family Medicine
Riverside Plaza (across from McDonald’s)
1350 Parkway Drive
Blackfoot, ID 83221


Ammon Medical & Urgent Care
3456 E. 17th St., Suite 125
(located near the corner of 17th St. and Ammon Rd.)
Ammon, ID 83406


1st Choice Urgent Care – Bannock Highway
1595 Bannock Highway
Pocatello, ID 83204


1st Choice Urgent Care & Family Medicine
275 West Locust
Shelley, ID 83274

All Urgent Cares Hours of Operation

Mon. to Fri.: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat. & Sun.: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Michael Brandes is a Business Writer for Bingham Healthcare.

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