Published on August 13, 2019

Urgent Care or Emergency Department: Which Is Best for Your Health Problem?

When you need prompt attention for a minor illness or injury, visit Tower Health Urgent Care

West Reading, Pa. (August 12, 2019) - You wake up on a Saturday morning with a horrible, self diagnosed, sinus infection. You need relief as soon as possible and your primary care physician isn't available. Should you take a trip to the Emergency Department?

Tower Health offers another option for common illnesses and injuries. Urgent Care is an essential link in Tower Health's continuum of care, providing convenient access to skilled and compassionate care at our urgent care locations across Berks, Chester, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Delaware, Bucks, Northampton, and New Castle counties.

"Our Urgent Care locations are an invaluable part of Tower Health," said Hazel Bluestein, MD, Tower Health Urgent Care Chief Medical Officer. "They ensure that we are able to provide all of our patients with convenient access to skilled, compassionate healthcare close to home when they need it."

If you don't know if Urgent Care or the Emergency Department is the best choice for your health problem, call your primary care provider. The on-call physician should be able to direct you. Here are some basic recommendations to keep in mind.

All medical issues can be addressed at the Emergency Department. But issues that constitute a medical emergency are given priority. For the following list, it is imperative to call 911 in order to have an ambulance take you to the Emergency Department:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unusual abdominal pain
  • Large open wounds, severe burns, unstoppable bleeding
  • Blurry vision or changes in vision in one or both eyes
  • Major broken bones, bones protruding from the skin
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Serious injuries, spinal injuries, severe infections
  • Sudden severe headache, dizziness, or weakness on one side of the body, sudden confusion or trouble speaking

Often though, an Urgent Care facility is the right place to go with medical problems that are still pressing, but not as life-threatening, such as:

  • Cold, flu, sinus infection, allergies
  • Sore throat, bronchitis, ear infection
  • Diarrhea, nausea, urinary tract infection
  • Pink eye, eye irritation
  • Minor broken bones, sprains, strains, or sports injuries
  • Back pain, headache, migraine
  • Flu shots
  • Office testing: blood sugar, strep throat, flu, mono, pregnancy, urinalysis and TB skin test
  • Minor lacerations, scrapes, bruises, insect bites, poison ivy, lice

For a more detailed look at where to go when facing a medical issue that requires prompt attention, please visit

About Tower Health

With more than 12,000 team members, Tower Health consists of Reading Hospital in West Reading; Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville; Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia; Jennersville Hospital in West Grove; Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville; and Pottstown Hospital in Pottstown. It also includes Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing; Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences in West Reading; home healthcare services provided by Tower Health at Home; and a network of 22 urgent care facilities across the Tower Health service area. Tower Health offers a connected network of 2,000 physicians, specialists and providers across 125 convenient locations. For more information, visit