Is It An Emergency or Not? Where to Go For Medical Care

It’s so hard when your little one is sick and you’re not sure what to do. Recently I went through a scary ordeal with a sick kiddo and a middle of the night ER visit. Thankfully nothing was seriously wrong, but after that experience and going down the rabbit hole of research on what to do in different medical situations, I thought I would share tips on how to know where to go for what type of care. For tips on Understanding Health Insurance & How to Pay For Medical Care click here.

Is It An Emergency or Not? Where to Go For Medical CareNon-emergency

Call your Primary Care Provider or pediatrician. They know your health history, including medications and medical conditions. If they can’t get you in, look into a virtual doctor you can do from the comfort of your own home. My insurance covers online visits with Dr. on Demand.

Quick Care

If you can’t reach your doctor or need to be seen outside of their office hours, these are a great solution. Generally they can help with symptoms of a cold, fever without a rash, flu, earaches, eye infections, bladder infections, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, skin conditions, insect bites, minor burns, and allergies.

Urgent Care

They can typically help with anything listed under Quick Care, but also may offer help with migraine treatment, shortness of breath or wheezing, sprains and strains, small cuts that may require stitches, IV fluids for dehydration, and X-rays.

*Note: Many quick care and urgent care clinics offer online information on their hours, what services they provide, and some even offer reservations or current wait times. Be sure to check with YOUR insurance to see what is covered in your area.


Go to your nearest Emergency Room or call 911 for serious medical conditions. These could be things such as chest pain or other signs of a heart attack, slurred speech or other symptoms of a stroke, difficulty breathing, head or eye injury, serious burns, fainting or loss of consciousness, fever with rash, fever in an infant under 6 months old, seizures, face lacerations or other severe cuts, broken bones and dislocated joints, vaginal bleeding with pregnancy, poisoning, coughing up or vomiting blood, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

If you’re local to the Iowa City area, check out Mercy’s and UIHC’s great guides on this, as well as their 24/7 free nurse line below.

Mercy Iowa City + 24/7 Nurse Line: 319-358-2767

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics + 24/7 Nurse Line: 319-384-8442

Bookmark this guide and come back to it next time there’s an incident and you’re not sure where to go.



Megan, an Iowa native from West Branch, shares her home with husband Cody, their three kids (Charlie-8 Gwen-6 & Ben-2) and 2 dogs (Dottie- lab-basset mix & Ham-all basset). When she is not smooching on them she is trying to change lives as a social worker, taking walks around their Iowa City neighborhood or cruising in Rita her minivan looking to score deals at local thrift stores. Check our her finds on her Instagram page @megthethriftingqueen.


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