If you have a child who becomes ill or injured at night or on the weekend, it can be a horrible experience. You want to do something but the doctor’s office is closed and the emergency room is just so scary. The good news is that there is another option. Urgent care centers can be found all over the United States. You may need to call your insurance carrier to and ask them “are there urgent care pediatrics near me?” You may be surprised to learn there are.
What can urgent care do?
It is important to know the difference between urgent care and emergency care. There are times when your question should not be, “Is there urgent care pediatrics near me?” but “where is the nearest emergency room.” Some problems that need to be evaluated in a hospital emergency room are (this list is not exhaustive):
- Stab or bullet wounds.
- Bleeding that will not stop.
- A head injury that causes the person to pass out.
- Any sudden problems speaking (slurred words).
- Compound fractures.
- Severe pain that is getting worse, not better.
There are a number of treatment that you can get at an urgent care center. You can go to an urgent care center if you child has one of the following problems (this list is also not exhaustive):
- A sprain or strain. Every day more than 25,000 people sprain an ankle. This is one of the most common reasons people go to an emergency room. These injuries can be painful but are not medical emergencies.
- A simple fracture. You may not be sure your child has broken a bone but four out of every five urgent care clinics has x-ray machines and can treat basic fractures.
- They have an upper respiratory infection. At least one billion colds will be reported around the country. You can get care for these and more serious upper respiratory infections at the urgent care center.
- Dehydration. If your child has a stomach virus or other problem and they are vomiting and have diarrhea, they may be able to give the IV fluids to help. At least 70% of urgent care centers can give this kind of care.
What are the benefits of going to an urgent care center rather that the emergency room?
- It will take less time. When you go to the local hospital emergency room, you can expect to wait hours before your child is seen by a doctor. In most urgent care centers, the wait time is much shorter. In 60%, you can expect to have your child seen in 15 minutes and in many cases, you will be in and out in under an hour.
- It will cost less. The most expensive kind of health care is found at a hospital emergency room. For a long time, health insurance carriers were not jumping on board the urgent care train but now they see the value of this kind of care. If your child is sick or hurt, you can call your insurance carrier to ask, “is there urgent care pediatrics near me?” and they will get you to the right place.
- It is medical care on your schedule. A number of people cannot get into a doctor’s office, for themselves or their child when they need to. Before urgent care centers were invented, their only option was the hospital emergency room. Now, most urgent care centers are open past 7:00 pm, a number are open as late as 9:00 pm. Many open before 9:00 am and most have hours on the weekend.
- It is less stressful. Going to the emergency room can be scary for adults and for children. There are a lot of scary things going on. It is noisy, there are ambulances coming and going. All of the people who have been waiting for long periods of time can be scary. For a stress free trip to the doctor, the urgent care center is a lot better. Plus, you will be in and out so quickly, there will be no time to be scared and you can teach them not to be afraid of medical care.
If your child has an urgent medical problem, your best first step is to call their pediatrician to ask “is there urgent care pediatrics near me?” They can help.