Parents have to make decisions about their children’s health issues every day. Whether it’s a toddler spiking a fever or a 12-year-old with an injured foot, it can be challenging to know when to call the doctor, go to Urgent Care, or deal with a problem at home.
Here are some guidelines for children so you can decide how urgent your child’s symptoms are and whether you should call, or visit the urgent care or emergency room (ER).
When to Visit Urgent Care
Urgent care is for illnesses or injuries that need swift medical attention but aren’t life-threatening. If your child can talk, walk, and play, it is likely best to visit urgent care instead of the emergency room.
If an illness comes on quickly, an injury happens, or your child seems distressed, urgent care can respond immediately and provide help. Some conditions urgent care can treat include:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Ear or eye infection
- Urinary tract infection
- Mild breathing problems
- Abdominal pain
In addition to these issues, urgent care can also treat injuries such as:
- Insect or animal bite
- Minor burn
- Sprains and simple fractures
- Bleeding, lacerations, and cuts
- Foreign body removal
- Possible concussion without loss of consciousness
If an injury is serious, staff will immediately refer you and your child to an emergency room for immediate care.
When to Take Your Child to the Emergency Room
Emergency rooms typically have longer waits and higher fees than urgent care. You also could expose your child to more contagious diseases and a chaotic and noisy environment that can be traumatic for children. In most cases, the emergency room is unnecessary: research shows that more than half of pediatric emergency room visits are non-urgent.
There are times when the emergency room is the best place for your child. It can provide critical and comprehensive care for severe conditions. Some signs you should head to the ER include:
- Fever over 100.4 degrees F for infants younger than one month, 101 degrees F between 3 to 6 months old, and 105 degrees F over six months
- Gasping for air
- Severe or deep burn that covers large parts of the body
- Lost consciousness from a head wound
- Ingested a poisonous substance
- Significant bone break
If your child has swallowed or inhaled a poisonous substance or has it in their eyes or on their skin, always call Poison Control. Keep their number in your phone to have on hand for emergencies: 800.222.1222.
When to Call
Some cases may require the discretion of your pediatrician or medical professional. They can provide the necessary information based on your child’s unique situation. Here are some reasons to call during office hours:
- Fever lasting more than three days in a child over three months old
- Cold symptoms or cough lasting longer than ten days
- Fever along with sore throat
- Vomiting over 24 hours with no diarrhea or signs of dehydration
- Ear pain
- Rash that lasts more than three days
- Symptoms that fade and reemerge over a long period
- Symptoms that last longer than expected
- A mild injury that has persistent pain or swelling
Medical professionals can let you know whether your situation requires help and can make an appointment with your child's doctor.
Patient Plus Urgent Care – Get in, Get better.
When you’re sick or injured, whether routine or urgent, quality medical care should be easy to find and available when you need it. That’s the idea behind Patient Plus Urgent Care, with convenient locations in Baton Rouge, Prairieville, & Brusly.
Patient Plus treats most common illnesses and injuries — the sniffles, rashes, fevers, aches, breaks, and other conditions that deserve prompt treatment but aren’t serious enough to require a trip to the nearest emergency room. The clinics provide complete diagnostic services, including X-rays, EKGs, and flu and strep tests. Other services include physicals, vaccinations, and more. Patient Plus clinics are open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and patients never need to call first or make an appointment.