You're chopping carrots and the knife slips and slices your finger badly. Or you wake in the middle of the night with the worst stomachache you've ever had. How do you know whether urgent care can handle your problem or it warrants a trip to the emergency room? The answer to that question may differ for adults and children.

To assist you with making this decision in a variety of situations, here is information on UCSF Health's urgent care clinics and emergency department, including the types of issues they treat in adults. For help in selecting the right care for infants and children, please see our article on pediatric urgent and emergency care.

Note: If you think you're experiencing a life-threatening or severe condition, call 911 or go directly to the nearest emergency department.

When to go to urgent care

If you have a non-life threatening illness or injury that can't wait until tomorrow, urgent care is the right choice. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Bites
  • Coughs
  • Cuts
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear pain
  • Fever
  • Infections
  • Mild asthma
  • Minor burns
  • Nose bleeds
  • Rashes
  • Painful urination
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Simple fractures
  • Sprains
  • Strains

Urgent care options

All of these provide same-day appointments and some also take walk-ins.

UCSF Adult Urgent Care (San Francisco)

UCSF Pediatric Urgent Care (San Francisco, Oakland, Larkspur)

Go Health Urgent Care (San Francisco, Oakland, Mill Valley, Daly City, San Bruno, and Redwood City)

Golden Gate Urgent Care (San Francisco, Oakland, and Mill Valley)

Berkeley Outpatient Center (Berkeley)

Circle Medical (San Francisco)

One Medical (35 Bay Area locations)

When to go to the emergency room

Emergency departments are set up to treat life-threatening issues that need immediate attention. Our emergency department has access to advanced testing and imaging resources and an integrative team of providers across specialties including cardiology, neurology, orthopedics and hundreds of other specialties. It is open 24 hours a day, every day.

Call 911 or go directly to the nearest emergency department if you think you're experiencing a life-threatening condition. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Any sudden or severe pain
  • Sudden changes in vision
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure lasting two minutes or more
  • Confusion or changes in mental status, unusual behavior, difficulty walking
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness
  • Head injury
  • Heart attack symptoms
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Major trauma
  • Open fractures
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Severe or unusual abdominal pain
  • Severe or uncontrolled bleeding
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings

Emergency care options

UCSF Adult Emergency Department (San Francisco)

UCSF Pediatric Emergency Departments (San Francisco, Oakland). Note: The San Francisco location also serves pregnant women.