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Urgent Care vs ER – How Do I Choose?

NightLight · March 8, 2016

One question that we get asked a lot is, “How do I know if we should go to urgent care of the ER?” There are doctor’s offices and hospitals, so where does urgent care fit in?

Urgent care is for those times when a person has a serious—but not life threatening—injury or illness. Typically, urgent care facilities are open in the evenings and on weekends, when the family’s regular doctor’s office may be closed.

In our case, NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care is open in the evenings, weekends and holidays in five locations around Houston to serve children with urgent, non-life-threatening conditions.

You can bring your children to us for things like:

  • Fevers
  • Earaches
  • Sore throats
  • Broken bones or sprains
  • Burns
  • Wounds
  • Viruses such as colds and flus
  • Stomach pain
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

We will be able to assess your child’s symptoms and provide a treatment plan or prescriptions when needed. We can clean, dress, and even stitch up wounds right in our facilities. We can also take x-rays to see what is happening inside their bodies.

In other words, there is a lot we can do in our pediatric urgent care facilities to take care of your children until their pediatrician or family doctor is available.

What are some conditions that need to go straight to ER?

  • Moderate to Severe Allergic reactions (especially those involving breathing difficulty, face/tongue swelling or a feeling of throat closing)
  • Fractures where bone is visible
  • Head injuries involving loss of consciousness
  • Anything that appears life threatening (child can’t breath, turning blue, seizure activity, etc. )

When in doubt it is best to call your PCP to discuss with them the appropriate course of evaluation.  When life threatening, call 911.