Where To Go When Sick


Learn the most appropriate place to receive care when you are sick.

Call Your Family Doctor First!

Your family doctor’s office offers daytime appointments, as well as after-hours service with a doctor who has access to your medical records, for issues such as: throat, bladder, eye or ear infection; cough and cold; rash; muscle and joint pain; etc.

Health Care Options

Navigating the health care system can be confusing, especially when you are sick and just want to be treated. But different health concerns are best treated in specific locations. NO ONE wants to spend hours waiting to be seen in the emergency department, but sometimes it may feel like that is your only option. In fact, only the most serious illnesses and injuries should be seen at the emergency department. Most health concerns are best served at an urgent care clinic or your family doctor’s office.

Emergency vs. Urgent Care Clinic vs. Doctor’s Office

When should you go to the Emergency Department? What can be seen at the Urgent Care Clinic? What issues can wait for an appointment with your family doctor? Here are some guidelines:

Emergency Department
(Niagara Falls, Welland, St. Catharines) -24 hours a day/7 days a week
Urgent Care Clinic
(Port Colborne, Fort Erie, hospitals)- 24 hours a day/7 days a week
Family Doctor’s Office
Mon-Fri (includes after hours service)
Dizziness Cuts that may need stitches Coughs and colds
Severe abdominal pain Minor abdominal pain (nausea, vomiting, flu) Congestion, sinus infections
Serious injury Sprains, strains, sports injuries Joint pain, muscle pain
Suicidal thoughts or other severe mental health concerns Minor mental health issues Rash, bruise, other skin conditions, insect bites
Chest pain Ear, nose, throat and eye problems Sore throat, ear aches
Severe headache (sudden onset, extreme pain) High fever not responding to Tylenol or Advil Bladder infections

For your convenience, click below to find the current wait times at emergency and urgent care in Niagara.


Access Health Connect Ontario for non-urgent health advice. Health811 is a free, secure and confidential service Ontarians can access 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive health advice from a registered nurse by calling 811 (TTY: 1-866-797- 0007), chatting online or navigating to Ontario.ca/health811.

For additional information regarding healthcare and social service supports in Niagara, call 211 or go to https://211ontario.ca/ A trained information specialist answers the phone 24 hours a day/7 days a week, free of charge and service is available in 150 languages.