Skip to Main Content


Should I Go To The ER For That?

Date: 09/14/17

When you don’t feel well, you might not know if you should go to the Emergency Room (ER), an urgent care clinic, or wait to see your doctor. Use this checklist of five common symptoms to help you decide.

You’re having serious chest pain.

Chest pain, especially when it comes with shortness of breath, nausea, or pain in one or both arms, is a common symptom of a heart attack. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 right away.

You have a fever.

If your fever is very high and comes with a rash, it could be an emergency situation. Fevers without rash can be treated by your doctor or in an urgent care clinic. If you go to an urgent care clinic, don’t forget to follow up with your doctor as soon as you can.

You’re doubled over with abdominal pain.

Abdominal pain can have many causes, from gas to appendicitis. You may need to go to the ER if your abdominal pain comes on suddenly or gets worse, or if it’s keeping you from sitting, walking, eating or drinking, or if it comes with vomiting.

You have the worst. Toothache. Ever.

Most ERs do not have dentists on staff to treat common dental problems like toothaches or lost fillings. You should see your dentist for these problems. If you have serious dental trauma such as a cut in your mouth that won’t stop bleeding or a tooth that has been knocked out by force, you may need emergency care if you can’t see your dentist right away. If you need help finding a dentist in your area, call Member Services, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 1-866-595-8133 (Hearing Loss: 711).

You’ve got a terrible earache.

Earaches are common, especially among children. Some earaches are caused by swimmer’s ear or wax buildup and can be treated at home. Other earaches are caused by an infection in the middle ear. These infections require a doctor’s care but are not emergencies. Your doctor or an urgent care clinic can treat an ear infection quickly.

Remember: As a Louisiana Healthcare Connections member, you can call our free, 24-hour Nurse Line to get help finding the right care in the right place. Just call 1-866-595-8133 (Hearing Loss: 711) and say, “Nurse.”