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Northeast Hospital

Is this an emergency?

Even healthy kids get hurt and sick. In some cases, you will know that you need to head straight to the emergency room (ER) at the nearest hospital. In other cases, it's more difficult to determine whether an injury or an illness needs the attention of a medical professional or can be treated at home.

Different problems require different levels of care. And when your child needs some sort of medical help, you have many options:

As a parent, it can be hard to make these judgment calls. You don't want to rush to the ER if it isn't really an emergency and can wait until a doctor's appointment. On the other hand, you don't want to hesitate to get medical attention if your child needs treatment right away. As your kids grow — and inevitably gets sick or has an accident — you'll learn to trust yourself to decide when it's an emergency.

Remember that in cases when you know the problem is minor, it's best to contact your child's doctor, go to an urgent care center, or handle it at home. Sometimes, ERs can be crowded and it can take a long time for minor problems to be treated.

Should I go to the emergency room?

Here are some reasons to go to the ER:

Other situations may seem alarming, but don't require a trip to the ER. The list below includes some of the symptoms that may require calling your doctor:

When in doubt, call your doctor. Even if the doctor isn't available, the office nurse will be able to talk with you and determine whether you should take your child to the ER. On weekends and evenings, doctors have answering services that allow them to get in touch with you if you leave a message.

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