If symptoms develop late in the day or overnight, deciding how to proceed with getting health care can present a challenge. Asking for help from your RLC or Public Safety are great options.
While each individual should make their own decision as the situation warrants related to choosing urgent care, ER, or waiting until morning to plan an appointment, here are some questions to ask yourself that may help in making the decision.
If this happened during daytime hours, what would I do?
If the only reason to go to the ER is because everything else is closed, you’ll probably experience a long wait, a bigger price tag, and be told to follow up with your family doctor in the morning. If, however, seriously life threatening symptoms are present, the ER is exactly the right place to go.
Is my life at risk?
While symptoms such as sore throat, fever, or cough can usually be effectively managed until a clinic appointment can be scheduled, other symptoms should be evaluated immediately, such as chest pain of potentially cardiac origin or unilateral weakness consistent with a stroke.
Can the symptoms be managed temporarily until I can plan an appointment?
In this case, an ankle sprain provides a helpful example. If manageable pain and moderate swelling are present, elevating the ankle and using ice / ibuprofen may offer adequate relief until an appointment can be made. If, however, the pain is unmanageable or swelling severe, immediate care may be required.