ADHD: A Parenting Guide

Emergency Room Or Urgent Care For Your Sick Child: Which Is Best?

When your child is sick, you want to do all you can to help them feel better. If you cannot comfort your child at home, you may need to seek medical intervention. The question then becomes which treatment option you should choose. You can take your child to your local emergency room or an urgent care facility. It can be difficult to decide which route to take. The following information may be helpful as you make this important decision:

Should You Go to the Emergency Room?

Visiting the emergency room can be a mixed blessing. Your child needs immediate medical care, but you will likely have a waiting period before your child is seen. You will also have to be around other sick individuals in the waiting room, potentially exposing yourselves to even more sickness. If your child is severely sick, however, the emergency room is the place to be.

There are some general guidelines to know if your child is best treated at the emergency room. If your child is an infant and has a fever, the emergency room is a good choice especially if your child is becoming dehydrated. If your child has had a seizure or lost consciousness due to an illness, you also are in the right place. If your child is not ambulatory, meaning is unable to walk on their own, you should get them to the emergency room.

Should You Go to Urgent Care?

Urgent care facilities are becoming increasingly popular. These medical facilities have dramatically decreased the waiting periods often seen in hospital emergency rooms. Urgent care facilities offer assistance for non-life-threatening issues and minor illnesses. Depending on how ill your child seems to be, urgent care may be a better option.

First, if you are unable to get a same-day appointment with your child's pediatrician, urgent care is the next best thing. If your child has flu-like symptoms, an ear infection, or a sore throat, urgent care is a good choice. If your child has had some diarrhea or vomiting but is not persistent, urgent care can help. As long as your child is able to talk, play, walk, and otherwise seem like themselves, urgent care can be a great resource for treatment.

What If You Are Not Sure?

If you are not sure which treatment option is best for your child's medical issue, you can call your pediatrician's office to get their advice. Describe your child's symptoms. The staff will advise you if you should seek emergency treatment at the hospital or if urgent care is a better option.