By Dr. Deanna Lites

DETROIT (WWJ) – Ankle sprain, chest pain, the flu — should you head to the emergency room, an urgent care center or call your family doctor?

Knowing the difference can save you wait time and money and leave the ER available for serious problems.

So, what should you do?

Call your primary care provider if you have a medical problem that you don’t consider serious like an ear ache, runny nose or sore throat.

Head to an urgent care “if you have kind of a minor injury, whether it be a possible fracture or a sprain or a cut that needs stitches,” said Dr. Sanford Vieder, with Lakes Urgent Care in West Bloomfield and Livonia.

If you do go to an urgent care, though, remember that they’re not all created equal.

“There isn’t a specific certification process or licensing process for urgent cares,” said Dr. Vieder. “You should call in advance and find out what kind of services they’re able to offer you.”

If you have a serious condition such as chest pain, trouble breathing — go directly to the ER or call 911.

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