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Urgent vs. Emergency Care: What You Need to Know

To receive the most appropriate medical care, it’s important to know the difference between urgency and emergency. 

Urgent Care and Walk-in Clinics

Urgent care and walk-in clinics provide medical treatment of illnesses or injuries that require immediate attention but are not life-threatening. If you can’t get in immediately to see your primary care doctor, don’t have a doctor, or are visiting from out of town, you can walk in for medical care and avoid a trip to the emergency department. Conditions that require immediate attention, but are not life-threatening include:

General Urgent Care

  • Fever
  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Respiratory illness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary infection
  • Sprains and strains
  • Puncture wounds and lacerations
  • Minor burns

Orthopedic Urgent Care

St. Luke's also offers orthopedic urgent care in Boise for a variety of conditions:

  • Sports injuries
  • Sprains, strains, and dislocations
  • Suspected fractures
  • Ligament tears
  • Cast or splint issues
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Overuse injuries
  • Painful, swollen joints
  • Pediatric injuries

Emergency Department

Call 911 immediately or go directly to the nearest emergency department for life-threatening conditions, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Stroke
  • Head injury
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizure
  • Bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Major burns

Find an Urgent or Emergency Care Facility

Are You Sick or Injured?

Symptom Checker

Use Our Symptom Checker for Advice

Our symptom checker offers educational information on various conditions, and provides advice regarding home care or first aid, when appropriate, as well as instructions on when you may need to call your provider, call 911, or go to an emergency department. It also offers dosage tables for common over-the-counter drugs.

The information in our symptom checker is designed with patient safety as the highest priority. Each care guide is reviewed by physicians, specialists and nurses for accuracy.

If you need additional advice regarding your sickness or injury, please contact your provider.

It's Time to Get Your Flu Shot!

Become an Air St. Luke’s Member

Invest in Your Family’s Safety and Security

Doctors and families throughout Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada trust Air St. Luke’s to carry their precious cargo in a medical emergency. Our highly trained flight teams are dedicated to providing specialized emergency care and medical transport when you need it most, from heart attacks and stroke to pediatric trauma and back country accidents.