It’s a Sunday morning and your infant daughter is running a high fever. You wonder if you should take her to the emergency room (ER) since your doctor’s office is closed. We’ve all faced situations like this — when you or a loved one needs care right away and it’s in the evening or on the weekend.

Your first thought might be visiting the ER, but did you know that the average time spent in the ER is more than two hours? Also, depending on your health insurance plan, you may end up paying much more out of pocket when you go to the ER compared to urgent care.

Urgent care centers are often staffed by pediatric, family, ER, and internal medicine doctors who can handle many healthcare conditions more quickly than the ER and often at a lower cost.

Here are some examples of common conditions that you can visit the ER for:

  • Strains and sprains
  • Minor injuries or burns
  • Cough, sore throat, ear infection, or cold
  • Allergies that aren’t life-threatening
  • Fever or flu symptoms
  • Moderate asthma

If you’re having a true emergency, call 911 or go to the ER

If you think you or a family member is having a true emergency or that delaying care can put your health at serious risk, always dial 911 or go straight to the nearest ER. Here are some examples of when you should call 911 or get emergency care right away:

  • Choking
  • Severe burn
  • Severe pain or pressure in the chest
  • Seizure that lasted for 3 to 5 minutes
  • Head injury
  • Electric shock

What if you’re not sure where to go for care?

Try calling your primary care doctor’s office. If the office is closed, they may have a doctor on call who can talk to you after hours and advise you about what to do for treatment. Also, your health insurer may provide a nurse hotline you can call to ask for advice. Check your health insurance ID card for a phone number.

Be prepared for when you need care right away

Rather than waiting until you actually need care fast, find out your options. For example, your health insurer’s website may have a list of nearby urgent care centers. It’s a good idea to put the telephone numbers and addresses of local urgent care centers in your phone’s contact list.

Looking for urgent care?

If you’re near Rock Hill, Middletown, Monroe, Newburgh, or West Nyack, Crystal Run Urgent Care Centers offer access to quality care on weekends and evenings. To find their urgent care locations and phone numbers, visit www.crystalrunhealthcare.com/locations.