If you or a loved one suffer an unexpected health event,  would you know what kind of care you should look for? Knowing whether you should go to an emergency room or an urgency room is key to receiving the treatment you need, in the right place and without exposing yourself to additional risks.

To make the right choice, save time and even save a life, here are the differences you should know.

What is an EMERGENCY?

An emergency is a situation that suddenly affects your health and endangers your life or can cause irreparable harm.  Example of emergencies:

  • Breathing difficulty  
  • Extensive burns
  • Seizures  
  • Poisoning
  • Abortion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe bleeding
  • Possible bone fractures
  • Deep wounds (such as those caused by knives)
  • Typical symptoms of a heart attack (chest pain that lasts two minutes or more)
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Weakness in one side of the body and sudden changes in your vision.

What is an Urgency?

A condition that does not place you in danger of immediate death or cause irreversible harm. It is recommended that any urgency should be treated by a doctor with a follow-up visit. Urgencies examples:

  • Occasional dizziness
  • Cold symptoms
  • Swelling in one leg
  • Mild allergic reaction
  • Occasional vomiting and diarrhea


  • Inform a family member
  • Take your health plan id card with you
  • Bring a list of the medications you use and  the last dose you took
  • Inform any allergies you suffer
  • Keep calm
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment with your GP to discuss the diagnosis and prescriptions 

Remember if you have an emergency where your life is in danger, CALL 9-1-1