Quick Care vs. Urgent Care vs. Emergency Care – Where Should I Go?

Quick Care vs. Urgent Care vs. Emergency Care – Where Should I Go?

When the Unexpected Happens, Should You Go to Quick Care, Urgent Care or the Emergency Room?

It hurts. It itches. It’s swollen. It’s after hours. Use the list below to help guide your decision on where to seek treatment for an illness or injury. Quick Care and Urgent Care are a great choice when you can’t wait for an appointment with your primary care provider, or when you need medical care after hours for non-lifethreatening conditions.* No appointment necessary— just walk right in. Wait times are typically shorter, and co-pays and out-of-pocket costs are usually lower than an ER visit.

Visit Valley Medical Center’s Wait Times page to Get in Line before you leave home.

View a map of Valley’s five convenient Quick Care & Urgent Care locations throughout south King County. 

You should seek Emergency Care if you believe lack of immediate medical attention will likely result in any of the following:

■ Serious risk to a person’s health (or a pregnant woman’s unborn child)

■ Serious impairment of a person’s bodily functions

■ Serious malfunction of one or more of a person’s body organs or parts

Quick Care or Urgent Care

  • Allergies
  • Asthma attack (mild or moderate)
  • Minor broken bones with no skin penetration—Urgent Care only
  • Burns (minor)
  • Upper respiratory infections—coughs, congestion, fever or flu symptoms, sinus problems, sore throat, bronchitis
  • Earaches and eye or skin infections
  • Adult flu shots
  • Insect bites or rashes
  • Migraines
  • Minor cuts/wounds/stitches
  • Minor head injuries
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Sprains, strains or deep bruises
  • Bladder infections

Emergency Room

  • Asthma attack (severe)
  • Broken bones (where bone is visible)
  • Burns or electrical shock (severe)
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Poison ingestion
  • Severe diarrhea or dehydration
  • Shock
  • Trauma or serious head injury
  • Uncontrollable bleeding or amputation
  • Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy

Time is of the Essence – Call 911 if You Have These Conditions:

  • Stroke: Sudden dizziness, numbness or paralysis, difficulty seeing or speaking, or loss of consciousness
  • Heart Attack: Chest pain with pressure sensation or pain radiating into jaw, teeth, shoulder or back; or palpitations with dizziness; or shortness of breath, sweating and/or nausea or vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Seizure

* IV fluids, IV medications or injectable narcotics are unavailable at Urgent Care

For more information, download our Know Where to Go brochure.

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office