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Summertime Survival Guide: Emergency Room or Walk-in Clinic?

Unexpected health emergencies can be stressful and overwhelming. Know when to choose a Walk-In Clinic or the Emergency Room (ER).

The first step in getting on the road to recovery is to decide whether to head to the ER or be treated at a Walk-In Clinic. If your condition is not life-threatening, visit a Walk-In Clinic where you can see a physician or nurse practitioner without an appointment and get medical consultation and/or treatment.

Examples of Walk-In conditions include:

  • allergies
  • sinus infections
  • cuts or unexpected bruising
  • bladder infections
  • insect bites and stings
  • flu symptoms
  • minor illnesses or injuries.

Don’t waste precious moments if your situation is life-threatening. Go directly to the ER for treatment of:

  • uncontrollable bleeding
  • disorientation or mental confusion
  • sudden trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs
  • severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea
  • symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, chest pain or pressure
  • pregnancy with bleeding
  • difficulty breathing
  • sudden severe headache
  • fainting or seizures
  • sudden loss or change in vision
  • intent to harm yourself or others.

The North Oaks Medical Center Emergency Department is one of the busiest in Louisiana. Because critical or life-threatening cases are treated first, there may be a wait in the Emergency Room (ER) for less critical or non-life threatening emergencies. While the average waiting period across the country is from 2 to 4 hours for non-critical cases, it could be even longer at busy times. So, consider whether your condition can be treated at a Walk-In Clinic or whether you should go directly to the ER.

North Oaks Walk-In Clinics are available in Hammond, Ponchatoula and Walker.

North Oaks Walk-In Clinics are open to treat most illnesses and minor traumatic injuries without an appointment. Clinics are staffed with family and emergency medicine-trained physicians who are qualified to care for patients of all ages – from infants (ages 6 months and older) to senior adults. On-site diagnostic X-ray and laboratory services also are available.