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When Should You Visit the ER?

It's been approximately a year since COVID-19 changed our world and made us all think twice about going into public places unnecessarily. While you might have delayed your annual physical, there have no doubt been times that you've needed urgent medical care. 

Here at American River Urgent Care in Orangevale, California, our team provides walk-in and urgent care services for patients of all ages. We diagnose and treat plenty of illnesses and injuries, but some cases require a trip to the emergency room treatment.

For example, you should call 911 or go straight to the emergency room when you have:

Chest pain

Chest pain is a common warning sign of a heart attack. It might feel like pressure, squeezing, or fullness. The pain could spread to your arms, back, or neck. 

Trouble breathing

If you develop shortness of breath or have any trouble breathing, you need to head to the emergency room. Whether you have a severe asthma attack or suddenly can't catch your breath, it requires emergency medical attention.

FAST symptoms

FAST symptoms are signs of a stroke. The acronym stands for:

Speed is critical when you have a stroke. The more quickly you get treatment, the better.

Severe fracture

Bone fractures range in severity. While we can set minor breaks here in our urgent care unit, you should go to the ER if you have a severe fracture. For example, if your bone protrudes out of your skin or if you have a visible deformity. 

Vision problems

Your eyes are extraordinary and delicate. If you have any sudden changes in your vision, such as blurriness, darkness, or blindness, you need expert diagnosis and treatment in an emergency room. 

Additionally, if you happen to get something stuck in your eye, you should get expert treatment. Do not try to remove the item by yourself, as this could make your situation much worse. 


A seizure is a sudden electrical disturbance in your brain. While a seizure can cause your limbs to shake or become stiff, and you might fall over or lose consciousness, you might also have a staring spell or become confused. Some patients have emotional symptoms such as anxiety, deja vu, or fear.

Severe allergic reaction

Anaphylaxis is a potentially deadly allergic reaction. It causes the sudden onset of several symptoms, including hives, rashes, low blood pressure, constricted airways, a weak or rapid pulse, and fainting. Immediate treatment is necessary to stop anaphylaxis and save your life.

Suicidal thoughts

If you have thoughts or plans to harm or kill yourself, go to the emergency room for help. There are around 1.38 million suicide attempts in the United States each year, and approximately 47,500 complete their attempt. An emergency room has access to psychiatric specialists who can help. 

Here at American River Urgent Care, we treat various injuries and illnesses that need urgent but not emergency care. For example, if you sprain an ankle or get strep throat or have diarrhea, we can help. But if you feel like your life, sight, or limb is at risk, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

If you have an urgent medical need, call our office or book an appointment online. We also offer walk-in appointments and urgent care services to help you and your family get the medical care you need.  

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