Healthy You - Every Day

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

With patient volumes increasing at health care centers across the country, it’s important to know where you should go for your urgent medical concern.

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

Ver en Español

As COVID-19 cases rise across the country, we are seeing a large increase in volume at all Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) locations, especially at our emergency rooms (ERs) and ExpressCARE locations.

This is causing longer wait times and other difficulties with accessing care in a timely manner.

It’s more important than ever to know the difference between emergency and less urgent medical concerns, and which facility and care option is right for you.

To help you determine what kind of medical care you need, we’ve put together the tips below:

Virtual visit options

In most cases, the best first step for receiving care is a virtual visit through your MyLVHN app or on Virtual options include LVHN ExpressCARE Video Visit, E-visits or our 24/7 nurse line (888-402-LVHN). These virtual options keep you safe at home and help our providers 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

Where to get care for orthopedic injuries

Due to high volumes at our LVHN ExpressCARE walk-in locations, we highly recommend going to one of our Orthopedic Injury Centers for the fastest possible care for the following:

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

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
  • 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

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 at LVHN

Whether you’re due for a routine visit, need to speak with a specialist or an unexpected health care need arises, we offer many virtual care options for you and your family.

Learn more

Explore More Articles