More often than not, it seems as if illnesses and injuries arise out of thin air! Your baby suddenly spikes a fever over the weekend. You step off the curb the wrong way and your ankle swells up. Your spouse wakes up in the middle of the night with random bouts of abdominal pain. These instances occur when you least expect them; your doctor’s office is not always open at the time of the incident and ER visits are expensive. You can often be left to wonder “should I use urgent care or the ER?”

Though the answer is not always black and white, and knowing the difference between the two types of facilities will help you make the right decision should the time arise. This blog goes into greater detail about what type of facility is most appropriate for your medical situation.

The Difference Between Urgent Care and Emergency Rooms

The terms “urgent” and “emergency” both imply that there’s a critical medical need, but it can be hard to tell the difference because both of these terms are very similar. However, there are very distinct differences between an urgent care facility and an emergency room.

Urgent care centers are the perfect choice for when you’re experiencing an urgent medical matter such as a high fever or a sprain, but your regular doctor doesn’t have an available appointment, and/or the ER is a far drive. If you come up with a sudden illness and it’s something you would normally talk to your primary doctor about, then urgent care would be an appropriate place to go. 

Emergency rooms are open 24/7 and are equipped for more complex, critical, or life-threatening emergencies such as a stroke or heart attack.

When to go to the Emergency Room

You should go to the ER when you are experiencing medical emergencies that require immediate or advanced treatments such as surgery. If treating your medical event requires equipment that is only available in a hospital setting, go to the ER. These are signs you should choose to visit the ER:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain in any capacity
  • Fainting
  • Serious burns
  • Slurred speech
  • Severe wounds
  • Numbness on one side of your body

Although this is not a complete list of when to go to the ER, it’s best to trust your gut in this situation – and if your gut tells you that it is an emergency, head to the ER right away!

When to go to Urgent Care

Most people don’t realize that there are other options to the ER and end up visiting the ER for minor injuries and illnesses. These minor problems (that are not emergencies) can be treated at an urgent care facility, saving you valuable time and money. 

Lincoln Urgent Care is fully equipped to treat injuries and illnesses such as:

  • Broken bones (we have in-house x-ray technology!)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Wheezing
  • Fevers (no rash)
  • Dehydration
  • Moderate flu-like symptoms
  • Small lacerations that may require stitches
  • Sprains
  • Strains

For a full list of our services, please click here. 

Urgent Care in Lincoln, California

If you need urgent care services in Lincoln, California, look no further than Lincoln Urgent Care. Our mission is to provide high-quality urgent care medicine to our community at an affordable rate. We are family-owned and operated and we take pride in our work and in serving our neighbors. As always, we are here when you need us. 


Lincoln Urgent Care and Granite Bay Urgent Care are full-service urgent care centers with onsite x-ray and laboratory testing. Our team is dedicated to providing patients with affordable and timely care for their urgent care needs.

Lincoln Urgent Care
77 Lincoln Boulevard Suite 1
Lincoln, CA 95648
Phone: (916) 258-2751
Fax: (916) 258-7172

Granite Bay Urgent Care
5290 Douglas Blvd
Suite 102
Granite Bay, CA 95746
Phone: (916) 570-7265
Fax: (916) 200-2412

As your trusted urgent care clinic, we would like to notify our patients about the Open Payments database put in place by the Medical Board of California as of January 1, 2024.

The federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires that detailed information about payment and other payments of value worth over ten dollars ($10) from manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, and biologics to physicians and teaching hospitals be made available to the public.

The Open Payments database is a national transparency program that collects and publishes information about financial relationships between drug and medical device companies and certain healthcare providers.

For informational purposes, please visit: openpaymentsdata.cms.gov