Doctor treating patient in ER

ER vs. Immediate Care: Where Should You Go?

August 3, 2018

Drs. Robert Riggs and Khalilah BabinoBy Robert Riggs, MD, Emergency Medicine and Khalilah Babino, DO, Family Medicine

Should you go to the emergency room or an immediate care location? When you’re not feeling well or injured, it’s not always easy to know where to go to get the care you need.

The simple answer is for serious injuries and illnesses or anything that may be life-threatening, head to the emergency room. For minor symptoms and illnesses, visit an immediate care location.

If you are considering calling 911 for your condition, do so right away or head to your nearest emergency department.

Some serious conditions and illness that should be treated in the emergency room include:

  • Broken bones that break through the skin
  • Chest pain
  • Deep cuts
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme headache
  • Fever in a newborn baby
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Seizures
  • Serious burns
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stroke symptoms including
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Facial drooping
    • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Vision changes

If your instinct is telling you it's serious, trust it and go to the nearest emergency department.

However, if your condition is something you would normally address with your regular doctor (but they are unavailable right away), an immediate care center may be the right choice for you. At an immediate care center, you can see a care provider without an appointment, and some blood tests and X-rays can be done onsite.

Examples of minor conditions and illnesses that are treatable in an immediate care location include:

  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Ear or sinus infection
  • Minor illnesses
    • Strep throat
    • Pink eye
  • Minor rash
  • Nose bleed
  • Small cuts

Our board-certified physicians and outstanding healthcare teams are here for you at all of our care centers when you need us most.

Loyola's immediate care locations are open weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm, weekends 8 am to 3 pm and most holidays. No appointment is needed. With four immediate care locations in Burr RidgeRiver Forest, Homer Glen and Oakbrook Terrace, you can find the location nearest you.

Loyola Medicine’s emergency department is open 24/7 and is home to our experts in emergency medicine. Our Level 1 Trauma Center features some of the most highly skilled trauma experts.

Robert Riggs, MD, is an emergency medicine physician at Loyola Medicine. Dr. Riggs earned his medical degree at Rush Medical College of Rush University and completed a residency at the University of Chicago Medicine in emergency medicine.

Khalilah Babino, DO, is a family medicine physician at Loyola Medicine. Dr. Babino earned her medical degree from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific at Western University of Health Science. She completed her residency at California Hospital Medical Center at the University of Southern California in family medicine.