When you are in the throes of an eerie illness or ghoulish injury, it can be difficult to decide where to go for care, especially when your regular doctor’s office is closed.
Choosing the right venue might seem scary, but don’t fear. We’ll take the dread out of the tough question – when should you visit an urgent care or an emergency center?
Urgent Care: Immediate Care for Spooky Symptoms
Ghosts and goblins might give you a shiver, but it’s more likely that the quaking you’re feeling this time of year is actually related to the chills and aches associated with flu, strep throat or other viruses.
Memorial Hermann Urgent Care offers medical care with extended hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and walk-in appointments seven days a week to treat illnesses such as the flu, sore throat and an earache, as well as more serious injuries including simple fractures and cuts that require stitches.
If you’re breaking out in a cold sweat (unrelated to any terrifying trick-or-treaters), but the injury or illness is not life-threatening, visit an Urgent Care clinic.
“An Urgent Care clinic is the place to go if your physician’s office is closed and you need to be seen by a medical professional right away,” said Michael Jackson, MD, a family medicine physician at Memorial Hermann Urgent Care in Spring. “Our urgent care clinics provide an array of services, including laboratory and X-ray if needed.”
Memorial Hermann Urgent Care also offers online check-in, which enables patients to reserve their place in line ahead of time. Patients also are able to track their appointment so they know when to arrive, reducing unnecessary time in the waiting room and helping you feel better faster so you can go back to indulging in Halloween candy.
ER: For True Emergencies
More sinister signs and symptoms demand more high-level care. If you are experiencing a life-threatening condition, you should seek care immediately in an emergency center.
George Simons, MD, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Spring and Memorial Hermann 24-Hour Emergency Care in The Woodlands, recommends asking yourself these questions to help you determine whether or not you have an emergency situation:
- Are my symptoms severe and/or life-threatening?
- Did the symptoms occur suddenly or unexpectedly?
- Is there excessive bleeding, extreme pain or broken bones that penetrate the skin?
If you answered yes to any of these, you will likely need emergency care.
Conditions typically treated in an ER include nonstop bleeding, chest pain, head injury with loss of consciousness or concentration, seizure, loss or change of vision, fever in infants less than three months old, serious burns and more.
“In general, if you feel like your ‘life or limb’ is in danger, call 911 or go to your nearest ER,” Dr. Simons said.
Another Fang-tastic Resource
Still can’t decide where to go? Call the free Nurse Health Line at (713) 338-7979 or toll-free at (855) 577-7979. Experienced nurses in Texas will help you decide when and where to go for medical care. These trained nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can help make your healthcare choices less menacing.