SDC Mishkin Urgent Care or ER HERO


Urgent Care or ER? Tips from an Emergency Medicine Expert

Ahhhh, the Holidays! It’s the most wonderful time of the year – unless you or a loved one gets sick or injured and then all of a sudden it isn’t.


What’s your next step? Wait for an appointment with your primary care doctor? Visit a Baptist Health Urgent Care location near you? Or maybe seek emergency care or call 911?


Resource editors spoke with David Mishkin, M.D., an emergency medicine specialist with Baptist Health. Dr. Mishkin offered helpful tips on when – and where – you should seek care during this always-busy time of year.


David Mishkin, M.D., emergency medicine specialist with Baptist Health


RESOURCE: Do you tend to see an increase in Urgent Care and ER visits during the holidays? 


Dr. Mishkin: Yes, recently we’ve been seeing a significant increase in both respiratory infections – mostly viral, specifically influenza – and gastrointestinal illness (vomiting/diarrhea) across all of our Baptist Health Urgent Care locations and Emergency Rooms.


RESOURCE: What are some of the ways people manage to wind up needing urgent or emergency care during the holidays?


Dr. Mishkin: When people come down with illnesses like these, which can very often present suddenly or acutely, they’re looking for both evaluation and symptomatic relief. Our Urgent Care and Emergency Rooms are readily available to help evaluate and manage them so they can get back to feeling better as soon as possible. We also encourage patients to use our Urgent Care Online option via the PineApp. Virtual visits are a convenient first-line resource that lets you quickly connect with a provider who can help diagnose, treat your symptoms or even guide you to where to get care if you need to be seen in person.


RESOURCE: What have you been seeing a lot of so far this holiday season?


Dr. Mishkin: Influenza has definitely been more active this season. We are also seeing other viral respiratory infections including RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and Metapneumovirus, which is more common in older populations. COVID-19 is still present as well. 


RESOURCE: Is food poisoning ever an issue this time of year?


Dr. Mishkin: Gastrointestinal illness is very common this time of year. Increased travel, changes in weather, and gatherings with family and friends are all contributing factors. Most of these illnesses will resolve themselves but patients very often will need additional supportive medications in order to feel better.


RESOURCE: What are the primary differences in services provided by urgent care versus emergency care?


Dr. Mishkin: There is a lot of overlap here for minor medical conditions, but our Emergency Rooms are equipped to evaluate and treat our sickest patients, those with more life-threatening or serious conditions. It is important to always call 911 when you or a loved one is experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency.


RESOURCE: If a person is feeling sick, when should they seek urgent or emergency care?


Dr. Mishkin: It depends on what your symptoms are along with your past medical history. We advise patients who are older, who have chronic medical conditions or significant symptoms, to be seen as early as possible. Baptist Health Urgent Care Online is a great resource to help patients make those decisions. 


RESOURCE: If a person is injured, when should they consider urgent or emergency care?


Dr. Mishkin: Injuries should be evaluated promptly. Patients may need wound care, splinting or other acute treatment. 


RESOURCE: Why should someone consider Baptist Health for urgent or emergency care?


Dr. Mishkin: Every one of our Baptist Health sites across South Florida is staffed with highly trained nurses and clinicians who provide compassionate, high-quality care for the ill and injured. Our network of same-day care services work together to help our patients navigate any acute or sudden medical need. Urgent Care Online is quick and easy. The providers are available 24/7 and can help with diagnosis and treatment and can assist in referring patients to our in-person location if needed. Our urgent care locations are staffed by board-certified physicians and offer onsite labs and advanced imaging like x-rays and CT scans if needed. Lastly, our ERs are where you go for more serious concerns. Regardless of where you get care at Baptist Health, we take a great deal of pride in this responsibility and are readily available to help when needed.


RESOURCE: Any parting thoughts for our readers?


Dr. Mishkin: We recognize that the holidays are often stressful times for many of our patients and their families. Make sure to take care of both your physical and mental health. Exercise, nutrition and sleep should be a priority for everyone – especially this time of year. 

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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