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Get the right care

For most medical problems, you should go to your regular health care provider first. You get the best care because they know you and your medical history. No matter where you go for care, be sure to bring a list of the current medications you are taking.

Doctor's office or clinic

The best place to get care is a doctor's office or clinic for common illnesses, minor injuries, and routine health exams. Your doctor can also help you manage your health over time. Usually open during regular business hours. May have some extended hours and weekend appointments.

You should make an appointment with your doctor's office for:

  • Common illnesses such as colds, flu, ear aches, sore throats, migraines, fever or rashes.
  • Minor injuries such as sprains, back pain, minor cuts and burns, minor broken bones, or minor eye injuries.
  • Regular physicals, prescription refills, vaccinations, and screenings.
  • A health problem where you need advice.

Urgent or convenient care clinics

When your doctor is not available, urgent or convenient care clinics provide attention for non-life threatening medical problems or problems that could become worse if you wait. Urgent or convenient care clinics often provide walk-in appointments and may be open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, or with extended hours. When your regular doctor or health care provider is not available, you should go to an urgent or convenient care clinic for:

  • Common illnesses such as colds, the flu, ear aches, sore throats, migraines, fever, rashes.
  • Minor injuries such as sprains, back pain, minor cuts and burns, minor broken bones, or minor eye injuries.

Hospital emergency rooms

You should use a hospital emergency room for very serious or life threatening emergencies. Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Any time you feel emergency care is necessary to save a life or prevent a permanent disability call 911.

If you think you are having a heart attack or stroke, DO NOT DRIVE! Call 911 for transport and immediate medical attention.

Call 911 or get to your nearest hospital emergency room if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain.
  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • Coughing or vomiting blood.
  • Severe burns.
  • Deep cuts or bleeding that won't stop.
  • Sudden blurred vision.
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or loss of coordination or balance.
  • Numbness in the face, arm, or leg.
  • Sudden, severe headache (not a migraine).
  • Seizures.
  • High fevers.
  • Any other condition you believe is life threatening.

Information provided by the Washington State Hospital Association. Washington State Medical Association and American College of Emergency Physicians; Washington Chapter.

Thinking about going to the ER because it's convenient or because it's necessary?

Hospital emergency rooms are not the place to go for common illnesses or minor injuries.

  • Emergency rooms do not take patients on a first come, first serve basis. They will treat the sickest individuals first, so you may have to wait longer than expected.
  • Non-emergency care in the Emergency Room can cost as much as three times more than the same care available at your doctor's office, and often the ER visits take longer because the providers are not familiar with your health history.
  • Emergency doctors focus primarily on treating the symptoms causing concern. Your regular doctor knows your health history and can help you find solutions that improve your overall health.
  • Most local clinics offer same-day appointments and appointments after regular business hours. If your clinic is closed, they may have a doctor or nurse that can be reached by phone to help you determine if your condition needs emergency care.
  • Check your insurance carrier to see if they have a nurse hotline or whether they require prior authorization for emergency room use. Whether going to the Emergency Room or clinic, be sure to bring a list of the current medications, vitamins and supplements you are taking.

Pandemic care

If you have a non-emergency health issue and no COVID-19 symptoms, call Pacific Crest Family Medicine at 509.972.1215 for acute, non-COVID care. Located at 311 S. 72nd Ave. in Yakima. Same-day appointments are available. Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon-Sat.

If you want COVID-19 testing only, get a free COVID test at the Yakima Valley College Community COVID testing site at 810 S. 14th Ave., in the parking lot on the north side of the college. This is a walk-up site. Results back in 1-3 days. We strongly encourage appointments, but can accommodate walk-ins. Hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tues.-Sat. You can pre-register at wacovid19.org/yakimatesting. Or call 2-1-1.

If you suspect you have COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms and want a provider visit, our COVID-19 Assessment & Treatment Clinic is at 1607 Creekside Loop, Ste. 100, Yakima. Again, this is for when you have MILD symptoms. You will get a COVID test and provider visit. Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Sun. Go to our Convenient Care page to set up an appointment or call 509.225.4669.

If you are COVID-19 positive, have mild to moderate symptoms, and want a provider visit, our COVID-19 Assessment & Treatment Clinic is at 1607 Creekside Loop, Ste. 100, Yakima. Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Sun. Go to our Convenient Care page to set up an appointment or call 509.225.4669. OR call your primary care provider. Please check with clinic staff at your provider's office on procedures for in-clinic visits for COVID patients.

Heart attack/stroke

If you think you are having a heart attack or stroke, DO NOT DRIVE! Call 911 for transport and immediate medical attention. EVERY SECOND COUNTS. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) personnel can relay important medical information to the emergency room so they are prepared and waiting when the ambulance arrives.

Heart attack symptoms in men:

  • Chest pain.
  • Arm pain.
  • Upper body pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Stomach pain.

Heart attack symptoms in women:

  • Chest pain.
  • Upper body pain.
  • Cold sweats.
  • Dizziness.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Unusual fatigue.

Stroke? Think F.A.S.T.

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do this simple test:

  • FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are their words slurred?­
  • TIME: If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Cold vs. flu

The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills.
  • Cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headaches.
  • Fatigue (tiredness).
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

How do I know if it's cold or flu?

Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them.

The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems.

Resources

Yakima's community health centers have either an after-hours on-call physician or use a 24/7 hotline service that patients can call to get medical recommendations. Clinics are also working to keep acute-care patient slots open during the day so people can get same-day appointments when they call their doctor during cold and flu season.

Yakima Valley Memorial operates two Healthy Now clinics. Check online for hours and locations.

Memorial's primary care clinics have on-call physicians, too. Generally, patients call the after-hours number and a message is sent to the on-call provider, who calls the patient back, often within an hour.

Yakima Valley Urgent Care offer care 365 days/year with no appointment necessary.

Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic has immediate care clinics in Granger and Sunnyside, which are open until 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. on weekdays. The Sunnyside clinic is also open on Saturdays. Neighborhood Health’s clinics in Yakima and Sunnyside are open on Saturdays, too.

Central Washington Family Medicine in Yakima is open until 7:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Community Health's Ellensburg clinic is open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.