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Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

Urgent Care or Emergency Room? – Should you visit an urgent care center or take your child to an emergency room. Crittenton Hospital in Rochester Michigan sent us these tips to distinguish when you should take your child to urgent care, and when you should take your child to the emergency room or call 911.

In a life-threatening situation, a call to 911 or a visit to an emergency room is always your best choice. But for minor illnesses at times when you can’t see your own doctor, like weekends or evenings, an urgent care clinic or a call to a nurse hotline can give you the care you need, as well as save you time and the high costs of an emergency room visit.

Research the urgent care options available on your health plan. These guidelines can help you decide if you or someone else needs emergency attention.

When You Need to Visit an Emergency Room or Call 911

  • Chest pain with shortness of breath and/or sweating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Trauma or head injury
  • Sudden dizziness, difficulty seeing, slurred speech, confusion, numbness, or paralysis
  • Unconsciousness
  • Poisoning
  • Severe injury, burns, or electrical shock
  • Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy

When You Can Use Urgent Care Instead of an Emergency Room Visit

  • Sore throats, coughs, congestion, fever, and other flu or cold symptoms
  • Cuts that require stitches
  • Mild or moderate asthma attacks
  • Earaches and eye or skin infections*
  • Insect bites or rashes
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sprains, strains, deep bruises
  • Diarrhea*
  • Pregnancy tests and physical exams

*Editor’s note: If these symptoms seem severe, consider them an emergency.

Sources: Duke University; Valley Voices, Winter 2008, published by Valley Medical Center, Renton, WA.

These Urgent Care or Emergency Room tips were provided to Oakland County Moms courtesy of Crittenton Hospital in Rochester MI.

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