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Virtual Visit, Injury Center, ExpressCARE or Emergency Room: Which Is Right for You?

Whether you’re dealing with a seasonal illness or an aggravating injury, it’s important to know where you should go for care

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Virtual Visit, Injury Center, ExpressCARE or Emergency Room: Which Is Right for You?

Quick quiz: You’re running a slight fever, have a runny nose and a cough. Do you:

  1. Go to the ER
  2. Go to ExpressCARE
  3. Send a MyLVHN message to your doctor
  4. Have a video visit

Depending on how bad you’re feeling, you might start with a message to your doctor or a video visit for guidance on what type of care you need. Provided you’re not having trouble breathing, you don’t need the ER.

As seasonal illnesses, including flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19, rise in our area, more people are seeking health care. This leads to heavy demand for Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) services.

Getting the right health care when you need it is critical, but it’s also important to know the difference between emergency and less urgent medical concerns, and which facility and care option is right for you. Here’s a list of LVHN care options and info on which is right for your health needs:

When to schedule a virtual visit

In most cases, the best first step for receiving care is a virtual visit through your MyLVHN app or on MyLVHN.org. Virtual options include LVHN ExpressCARE Video Visits or E-visits. Through a virtual visit, an LVHN clinician will evaluate your needs and determine if you should be seen in person.

Virtual visits are available if you are experiencing any of the following:  

  • COVID-19 symptoms
  • Cough, cold or flu
  • Ear pain
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Pinkeye
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Sore throat
  • Urinary problems
  • Animal bites
  • Cold sores
  • Insect bites
  • Rashes
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain

To learn more about our virtual visit options, visit LVHN.org/virtualcare.

When to visit LVHN ExpressCARE locations

When you need to see a doctor in person and a video visit isn't an option, LVHN ExpressCARE locations offer walk-in care. Due to high volumes, we encourage you to check wait times on our location pages before coming in for the following:

  • Allergies
  • Animal bites
  • Back pain
    • Care also available for back pain through our Advanced Spine Center. For same-day/next-day appointments, call 610-402-3300.
  • Broken bones without an open wound
  • Bronchitis
  • Cough or sore throat
  • COVID-19 tests
    • You will need to get a script before coming in. Call 888-402-LVHN (5846) to reach the nurse line.
  • Ear pain
  • Eye swelling or irritation
  • Flu or cold
  • Flu shots
  • Minor fever
  • Minor headache
  • Minor wounds
  • Nausea
  • Poison ivy
  • Rashes
  • Sinusitis
  • Sprains or strains

Where to get care for orthopedic injuries

If you have an orthopedic injury, choosing an LVHN Orthopedic Injury Center gives you access to same-day care provided by nationally-ranked orthopedic specialists, all without an appointment. An Injury Center provides care for injuries like:

  • Fractures or breaks
  • Slip-and-fall injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Strains
  • Sprains

When to go to the ER

When you’re faced with a serious health concern that requires immediate care, an LVHN ER is the best place to go.

If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the following, you should seek emergency room care right away:

  • Broken bone accompanied by an open wound
  • Chest pain
  • Deep cuts or wounds that won’t stop bleeding
  • Coughing up blood
  • Any type of head injury
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Signs of stroke, including numbness, impaired balance, drooped face, speech slurring or blurred/double vision
  • Suicidal thoughts

Seeking appropriate care

Determining the right option for medical care is incredibly important, not only for yourself but others in our community as well. Selecting the right care option will help reduce wait times across our health system and allow you to get the most appropriate care as soon as possible.

Virtual Care

Virtual Care

As a leader in digital health, we are your at-home partner. That means you can get quality care, right from your couch.

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