Being a parent entails prioritizing your child’s wellbeing at all times. It can be hair-raising when they get ill or injured. It can be even more troubling if you don’t know the right place to receive care in sudden situations. The question is, how do you know when to visit the pediatrician, urgent care, or emergency room (ER)?
When your kid needs medical attention, they have three options to go to: their physician, an urgent care facility, or the hospital. If you can’t decide, you may always consult your child’s pediatrician. They can advise you on the best place for your kid to get the care they need.
Other than that, here are some basic guidelines on where to bring your sick child:
To the Pediatrician
A doctor whose expertise is the health and medical needs of infants, children, and teenagers is called a pediatrician. They take care of fundamental medical issues in young people like fever, rashes, sprained ankles, and flu-like illnesses. In addition, they can write prescriptions and provide essential medical treatment if necessary.
Here are reasons to take your child to their pediatrician instead of the emergency room or urgent care:
- Your child needs a prescription
- Your child requires treatment for a non-urgent illness
- You need advice on how to care for your child
- Your child needs treatment for a simple injury, like a sprain or a cracked tooth
- You have other questions about your child’s health
To Urgent Care
You should go to an urgent care facility if your child is unwell. You don’t want to wait hours for an appointment at the hospital’s main emergency department. Urgent care centers are open during regular business hours. They are staffed by doctors, nurses, and medical staff who care for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
Urgent care facilities deal with medical situations that don’t necessitate a trip to the ER but demand immediate attention, like:
- Prolonged sore throat
- Prolonged diarrhea and vomiting
- Inability to digest
- Asthma and vomiting
- Fever and ear discharge
- Sharp or persistent stomach or abdominal aches
- Blood in pee or stools
Urgent care facilities function as a pediatrician’s office. They accept walk-ins and have flexible hours. If your child has strep throat or flu and is not life-threatening, seek urgent care instead of the ER.
To the Emergency Room
You should bring your sick child to the ER if they are very unwell or wounded. A pediatrician may not be present in an ER due to the nature of the facility, which can be quite hectic.
Emergency rooms treat patients who need immediate care. The ER can help if your kid has a severe illness or injury that requires urgent attention. Symptoms of your child needing emergency care are:
- Increasing or severe pain
- Blue or purple skin, lips, or nails
- Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath
- Acute stomach or abdominal discomfort
- Injuries to the spinal cord or brain
- Allergies including hives, swelling, and breathing problems
- Bleeding or vomiting out of control
- Eye injuries like scratches
- Strange, unusually quiet, or less alert behavior
- Unconsciousness or lack of responsiveness when spoken to
- Fever and stiff neck
Emergency rooms are also a good option if you aren’t sure where to go. Sometimes, your child might have symptoms of an illness, and it may not be an emergency, but you aren’t sure. In this case, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Places like urgent care centers and emergency rooms should be a last resort when your child is sick or hurt. Don’t rush to these places without first calling your child’s pediatrician.
You should never be afraid to see a medical expert about your child’s health, no matter how little you believe your worry is. Unless there is a medical emergency, your child’s pediatrician’s office is an excellent place to start asking questions and getting guidance.
If you suspect your child’s health is in danger in any manner, get medical attention for them as soon as possible. You are familiar with your child. Make the best judgments you can based on your intuition.
Keep in mind that you are not alone. Many medical specialists are dedicated to assisting you in keeping your kid safe, healthy, and happy.
Agile Urgent Care is a full-service walk-in medical clinic for injuries or diseases that can’t wait for your regular doctor but aren’t severe enough for an expensive emergency room visit. Our urgent pediatric care in New Jersey is one of the best. Our physicians and nurses also care for adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Contact us today!