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Emergency room, 9-1-1, urgent care, hotline?
If you’re able, assess the situation:
- Are you near a hospital?
- Would you be able to get there quickly?
- Can I or the individual pay for an ambulance or is there another way I can be transported?
- Do I need to be seen immediately or can I wait and contact a doctor/primary care physician?
Consider these questions, but use your best judgment and when in doubt, call 9-1-1.
In non-emergency situations, you can usually save time and money by going to urgent care rather than a hospital’s emergency room.
Most insurance carriers are accepted at each location, but if unsure we encourage you to research and reach out before you arrive.
An important first step in advocating for your health and the health of others is knowing where to go and who to contact in emergency situations. Read more about the basics of healthcare facilities through our Understanding Healthcare blog series. Below are some reasons you might visit a certain facility or contact services via phone.
- Trouble breathing
- Passing out, fainting
- Pain in the arm or jaw
- Unusual or bad headache, particularly if it started suddenly
- Suddenly not able to speak, see, walk, or move
- Suddenly weak or drooping on one side of the body
- Dizziness or weakness that does not go away
- Inhaled smoke or poisonous fumes
- Sudden confusion
- Heavy bleeding
- Possible broken bone, loss of movement, particularly if the bone is pushing through the skin
- Deep wounds
- Serious burns
- Coughing or throwing up blood
- Severe pain anywhere on the body
- Severe allergic reaction with trouble breathing, swelling, hives
- High fever with headache and stiff neck
- High fever that does not get better with medicine
- Throwing up or loose stools that do not stop
- Drug/alcohol overdose
- Minor cuts
- Minor broken bones
- Minor eye injuries
Common mild illnesses:
- Sore throats
- Low-grade fevers
- Limited rashes
24/7, Free, Confidential Phone Support
- You are unsure if a problem is serious
- You need clarification about the symptoms
- You have questions about medication
- You need advice about deciding on an emergency room or clinic
- It’s nighttime, the weekend, or after normal business hours
- Wanting to understand the extent of your health insurance coverage – what is covered and what is not
Mental Health Emergencies
- San Diego County’s Mobile Crisis Response Teams – MCRT (1.888.724.7240)
- Get help if you or another is experiencing a drug or alcohol-related crisis, calling will connect you with a behavioral health expert instead of law enforcement providing in-person support to anyone, anywhere.