The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there were 129.8 million visits to the emergency room in 2010. Maybe you were one of them. Sometimes situations arise and there is confusion about where to get treatment – emergency room or urgent care center. If you’re not sure where to go, read on. Making the right choice could save your life.
My newborn has a fever of 101°, where should I go?
A fever in babies can be one of the scariest symptoms for parents, especially when that fever is high or the baby is only a few weeks old.
Remember, a fever is a symptom and not an illness. A fever in an infant is usually a sign of a cold or other viral infection. However, it could be a sign of a more serious bacterial infection called sepsis. According to the National Institutes of Health, neonatal sepsis is a blood infection that occurs in an infant younger than 90 days old whose immune systems haven’t developed enough to fight off overwhelming infections. It can lead to serious complications and prevent the body’s organs from working properly.
All children under three months with a true fever need medical evaluation. So, if your baby’s doctor’s office is closed, be safe and take the baby to the ER.
I stepped on a nail in the garage, where should I go?
Stepping on a nail can cause a painful wound on the bottom of your foot. Worse yet, puncture wounds can cause an infection like tetanus if not properly treated. Tetanus is a bacterial infection. The CDC recommends adults get a tetanus booster every 10 years to stay protected since immunity to tetanus decreases over time.
Tetanus vaccines are recommended throughout your life. There are four combination vaccines used to prevent tetanus: DTaP, Tdap, DT, and Td. Two of these (DTaP and DT) are given to children younger than 7 years of age, and two (Tdap and Td) are given to older children and adults.
If you can’t remember exactly when you had your last tetanus shot, it’s usually safe to receive an extra booster of the tetanus vaccine. This is especially true if you’re being treated for an acute injury, such as a puncture wound.
Porter Regional Hospital and Portage Hospital each have emergency departments staffed with clinical professionals specially trained in emergency medicine.
Porter also has three CareEXPRESS Urgent Care Centers – in Chesterton, Valparaiso and Portage – all open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with physicians and walk-in care for illnesses, injuries, sports physicals and more. Lab and x-ray are also available.