Utica, NY (WIBX) - If you hate long waits in the ER you are not alone.  Hospitals hate them too.

Emergency room visits are on the rise for non-emergency related events.

The Medical Societies of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, along with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, are asking people who have simple coughs and colds to first visit their primary care doctors or local urgent care facilities before heading to the emergency rooms. The groups are claiming that the number of potentially avoidable ER visits has increased fifty percent in the past year while the number of visits to doctors' offices has remained relatively flat.

A report entitled "The Facts About Potentially Avoidable Emergency Room Visits in Upstate New York" includes findings that two our of every five of the more than 700,000 ER visits that upstate New Yorkers make are "potentially avoidable."

Emergencies are emergencies, though, and all agencies caution patients to use common sense.  In all cases it is better to be safe rather than sorry, but they are hoping that fewer people will show up at ERs for sniffles so that those who have more serious problems, like chest pain, can receive better care.

Here's the video, also released last year, and targeted specifically for Herkimer and Oneida Counties: