Coughs and sore throats often seem like par for the course especially during flu season. But if they are accompanied by any of the symptoms below, or if your immune system is compromised due to an existing condition, you may need to seek emergency treatment.

If you have these symptoms, you may require emergency care

Seek ER treatment if the cough or sore throat is accompanied by:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • High fever
  • Coughing up blood
  • Inability to swallow
  • Muffled voice
  • Inability to open mouth all the way
  • Significant swelling on one side of the throat, which may indicate an abscess of the tonsil

If you have a compromised immune system, you may need emergency care

Our immune system fights off illness and infection, but some conditions can leave the immune system weakened. This means even common colds can cause serious complications.

Your immune system can be compromised by the following:

  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Recent transplant (and accompanying transplant medication)
  • Existing severe infection or illness

If you are coughing or have a sore throat while your immune system is compromised, seek emergency care.

When to Take Your Child to the ER

In most cases, your child will recover from a cough or sore throat with home care or a visit to the pediatrician. However, if your child's cough or sore throat is accompanied by any of the symptoms below, or if his or her immune system is compromised due to an existing condition, you may need to seek emergency treatment.

If your child has these symptoms, emergency care may be necessary.

Take your child to the ER if the cough or sore throat is accompanied by:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • High fever
    • Higher than 100.4 degrees for children younger than 3 months old
    • Higher than 102.2 degrees for children older than 3 months old
  • Coughing up blood
  • Inability to swallow
  • Muffled voice
  • Inability to open his or her mouth all the way
  • Significant swelling on one side of the throat, which may indicate an abscess of the tonsil

Wesley EmergencyCare Network ERs

Online ER Check-in

Patients can complete advance check-in to any of Wesley's four emergency rooms with a free mobile app available for Apple iPhones in iTunes and for Android phones in the Google Play App Store. Patients can also complete advance registration at www.wesleyercheckin.com. Users simply select which Wesley facility they would like to go to and fill out a few required fields. The selected ER will be instantly notified, enabling the ER staff to better prepare for the patient's arrival. The app and website include the facilities' average wait times so patients can better plan their visit.

ER Average Wait Times

ER wait times are approximate and provided for informational purposes only. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

The ER wait time represents the time it takes to see a qualified medical professional, defined as a Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (DO), Physician Assistant (PA) or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP).

ER wait times represent a four-hour rolling average updated every 30 minutes, and is defined as the time of patient arrival until the time the patient is greeted by a qualified medical professional. Patients are triaged at arrival and are then seen by a qualified medical professional in priority order based on their presenting complaint and reason for visit.

Ready Care

Wesley's main emergency department also provides Ready Care services, an “express lane” through the emergency department in a convenient, timely setting. These services are an alternative care route to the regular emergency department where treatment is determined on the severity of the patient's condition. Ready Care is ideal for patients who need immediate care for small emergencies, such as sprains, sore throats, ear infections and rashes. The service area is managed by providers trained in emergency medicine and is fully supervised by board-certified physicians. Patients are referred to the area through the regular emergency department.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please contact 911 or seek medical attention immediately.