Should I Go to Urgent Care or ER for a Children’s Emergency?


Take your kid to the emergency room near you if they are facing serious conditions like head injuries, fever above 100.4 degrees, seizures, breathing problems, and severe allergic reactions. However, for non-life threatening conditions like mild fever, and cough, it’s essential to get urgent treatment for children or visit the pediatrician’s office.

Most urgent care centers expect health insurance but need payment at the time of service. Urgent care providers can replace your regular doctor and provide acute medical services or injury treatment. They offer easy point-of-care testing and other diagnostic imaging. We have created a detailed guide to help you make the right decision when your kid struggles with a medical emergency.

When to Visit an Urgent Care?

Urgent care centers handle a wide assortment of illnesses and injuries, including:

  • Pneumonia.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Pink eye or other eye infections.
  • Sinus Infections.
  • Strep throat.
  • Cold/flu.
  • Allergies.
  • Sore throat.
  • UTI.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Minor wounds or burns.
  • Fever.
  • Bone breakage.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Asthma.
  • Ear infections.
  • Rashes and skin disorders.
  • GERD and acid reflux.
  • Sexually transmitted infections.
  • Constipation.
  • Tendonitis and other repetitive use injuries.
  • Pulled muscles.

When to Visit the Emergency Room?

Emergency rooms are equipped to handle severe or sudden issues like:

  • Paralysis.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Severe or sudden headache.
  • Seizures.
  • Head injuries or concussions.
  • Uncontrollable bleeding.

What is the Difference Between ER and Urgent Care?

Let us explore the key differences between the urgent care clinic and an ER near you:

  • Equipment

An urgent care clinic has limited equipment to handle situations. However, ER has all essentials like MRI, ECG, and ultrasound.

  • Number of Hours

Emergency departments work 24/7. However, urgent care centers have fixed hours.

  • Staff

ERs are equipped with physician assistants, nurses, physicians, and nurse practitioners that offer emergency care (aka immediate care) to the patients. They also have fast access to experts in advanced specialties like neurology, cardiology, and orthopedics. However, urgent care clinics have nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

  • Location

Urgent care providers are located in a separate building. It does not have a link to a hospital. However, an emergency department is an emergency room attached to a hospital.

The Severity of Health Issues

Urgent care clinics are the middle ground between ED and primary care providers. It is a great choice:

  • If you don’t have other underlying health conditions.
  • If you have a minor injury or illness and don’t wait till tomorrow.
  • If you have injuries or illnesses without any signs.

Visiting Express ERs – Main Site is a good choice when you need medical attention instantly. It’s because they are specialized in treating life-threatening health conditions in people of all age groups.

  • Price

The cost is linked with an ER and urgent care, depending on copays.

Generally, the price of an urgent care visit is a $20-$50 copay. However, an emergency room price is much higher ($100-$200 copay).

The expert team will explain the overall cost of your visit. The price of an urgent care visit will typically rely on the following factors:

  • Whether or not you have insurance.
  • How much your copay is.
  • If you have met your deductible.
  • If you require medicines, injections, or other diagnostic testing.
  • If the urgent care provider is in or out of your network.
  • Priority

Urgent care providers use a first come basis for treating their patients. But an emergency room uses a triage basis.

  • Waiting Time

The waiting time of an urgent care clinic is around one hour. But that in ER is long.

Common Kids’ Health Conditions that ER Treat

The emergency department at the hospital is an expert in treating the following conditions in children:

  • Seizures
  • Head injuries.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Uncontrollable bleeding.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Serious or sudden headache.
  • Weakness.
  • Paralysis.
  • Compound Fracture.
  • Severe pain in the abdominal area.
  • Chest pressure or pain.

Call 911 if you have the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Heart attack or stroke.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Limb injury.

Note: But avoid visiting the ER near you on your own.

If you are unsure whether your or your kid’s illness or condition is suitable for urgent care, fix an appointment with an expert at Express ERs – Main Site.

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