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Please call 911 if you or someone else has a medical emergency that needs transportation for immediate care.

It’s 2 a.m. and your toddler is fatigued, complaining of an earache and has a fever. You’re not sure it’s an emergency, but the thought of waiting it out until the morning sounds miserable for everyone. What do you do?

If you’ve ever wondered where to go when you’re feeling sick or injured, you’re not alone. Nearly 130 million people head to the emergency room each year, but a large percentage of those visits are not actual emergencies.

While we are fortunate to have several accessible options for care available, how do you know where to go and when?


When to Visit Your Primary Care Provider or Pediatrician?

If you are established with a family doctor or pediatrician, think of primary care as your friend and advocate. He or she knows your family’s medical history and can offer health insight that other types of care may take longer to provide. If your little one suffers from chronic ear infections that don’t (have not responded) respond to past medications, for example your pediatrician may be able to provide more effective solutions quickly.

You should visit your primary care doctor or pediatrician for:
Basic, yearly check-ups, vaccinations and health screenings
If you are feeling under the weather and don’t feel your life is in immediate danger
If you have chronic illnesses, like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
For children, any high fever, especially if it’s not responding to medicine

You’ll need to schedule an appointment – but if your concern is not urgent, this is the best choice for you.

To make an appointment, go to or by downloading the MyChart app, selecting Scotland Health and creating an account if one has not already been established, find a new doctor online or call. Some conditions don’t warrant an in-person consultation, and in that case, you can schedule a video visit with your primary care provider or pediatrician.

If you are looking for a primary care doctor or pediatrician, find one here.


When to Use Virtual Care

Great care is often just a video call away. Telemedicine use has become a widespread, trusted resource for help when families need medical care but don’t necessarily need to physically visit a doctor’s office.

Virtual care is a good option for non life-threatening symptoms.

Some symptoms and scenarios that virtual care can be used for:
Mild cold symptoms such as a cough, slight fever, runny nose or sore throat
Mild vomiting or diarrhea
Skin issues such as mild rashes (unless accompanied by fever) or itchiness
Seasonal allergies
Pink eye
Urinary tract infection (for adults only)

Video visits may be an option for you depending on your symptoms.  You will need internet access and a smartphone, tablet or computer to chat with a physician or medical professional from the comfort of your home – or wherever you may be. eVisits are another virtual care option available that allow you to have a consultation via email with a nurse who can provide you a care plan and prescribe medicine if needed.

Whether you are new to Scotland Health or an existing patient, our virtual care options are easy to access. Click here to contact a practice to see if a Virtual Visit is right for you.

You can access our patient portal at


When to Go to an Urgent Care

Did you know your local urgent care location can help with simple stitches, minor burns and even minor bone breaks? Similar to primary care, you’ll want to visit an urgent care facility if you’re experiencing an illness or injury that doesn’t put your life in danger, but the care you need is more immediate. Perhaps you suspect your cold symptoms are turning into a sinus infection, or you have a mild cut on your hand that needs to be cleaned and assessed for stitches. These are both non life-threatening situations that would warrant a trip to urgent care.

You should visit urgent care if you have:
Moderate flu-like symptoms
Minor wounds, abrasions, burns or cuts that may require stitches
Sprains or strains
Ongoing vomiting or diarrhea
Fever without a rash
Ear pain
Eye redness, itchiness or discharge
Abdominal pain

Another bonus of urgent care is it does not require an appointment. You can walk in for care when it fits your schedule thanks to convenient extended hours every day of the week.

For Urgent Care Hours and Locations: