Major Emergency vs. Minor Emergency: What’s the Difference?

When you get injured or are feeling ill, it can sometimes be unclear if you need immediate medical attention or not. Oftentimes, people visit the emergency room and face high expenses when they could have easily been treated at an urgent care center instead. Because it can be difficult to decide what’s a major emergency and what’s a minor emergency, this article is going to discuss a few key differences between them.

What Are Major Emergencies?
Generally, a major emergency consists of an injury or illness that could potentially lead to death or disability. For example, a heart attack would be considered a major emergency. Seeing as how someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds in America, this is, unfortunately, a common emergency. While all major emergencies are different, a few common symptoms of major medical emergencies include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea that won’t stop
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Animal bites
  • Severe bleeding
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Broken bones
  • Injury to the neck or spine
  • Persistent high fever

Any of these symptoms or conditions may require emergency medical care. Because these symptoms could potentially be life-threatening, a visit to an emergency clinic should be taken as soon as possible.

Minor Emergencies
Unlike a major emergency, minor injuries and illnesses aren’t life-threatening. While they can certainly be painful or uncomfortable, these emergencies don’t require a trip to the emergency room. Some examples of minor injuries could include minor cuts, bruises, minor burns, sprains, or pulled muscles. While these conditions can certainly be scary and painful, they don’t necessarily call for emergency care services.

Where to Get Help
Whether it’s a minor or major emergency, it’s important to know where to receive medical attention. A major emergency should absolutely be treated at an emergency room or clinic. These facilities are equipped to handle any and all emergencies. A minor emergency, on the other hand, can most likely be treated at an urgent care center or a physician’s office.

Hopefully, this article will help you understand the differences between major and minor emergencies. Knowing when an injury or illness is a minor emergency can save you thousands of dollars and an unnecessary trip to the hospital.

No matter what kind of medical emergency you’re experiencing, Carolina East Health has you covered. We provide both emergency medical care and urgent care services to help with all of your medical needs. If you come for a visit and aren’t sure where to go, we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

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