Deciding whether to visit the emergency room or a neighborhood urgent care clinic can be confusing. Here is what the American College of Emergency Physicians recommends.

Seek urgent care for minor medical conditions or issues your family physician’s office could normally handle but the office is closed.

Seek emergency care if you experience warning signs of a serious medical problem:

— Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

— Chest pain, upper abdominal pain or pressure lasting two minutes or longer

— Fainting, sudden dizziness or weakness

— Vision changes

— Difficulty speaking

— Confusion or changes in mental status, unusual behavior or difficulty walking

— Any sudden and severe pain

— Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea

— Coughing or vomiting blood

— Unusual abdominal pain

— Severe headache or vomiting after a head injury, unconsciousness or uncontrolled bleeding

— Suicidal or homicidal thoughts

Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and...