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When to go to Urgent Care and when to call your Pediatrician

Parenting is complicated. You’ve got to make a lot of decisions, and when it comes to your sick little one, you want to make the right decision quickly. So, how do you decide when to take your child to an Urgent Care, Emergency Room, or Primary Care Physician? This is a simple question with a complex answer, but we wanted to lay it all out for you, so when the time comes, you’ll be prepared to make the right choice quickly. 

Reasons to call your Pediatrician

Sore throats, ear aches, and stomachache symptoms should be addressed by your Primary Care Provider especially if they have lingered for multiple days. Urgent Care Facilities do not know your children, their history and their medications. Very often they are not versed in pediatric care, and we find that in many instances the wrong dosage of antibiotics has been prescribed. In cases such as these, you’re going to have to follow up with your primary care provider, resulting in multiple co-pays and time wasted getting your child the right care quickly. 

Reasons to visit an urgent care Facility

Urgent Care Facilities should be used in the event of a sudden illness or injury that you’d normally be comfortable having your pediatrician handle, but can’t get an appointment quickly. This would be relevant on vacations or trips where you’re unable to be in the office within 24-48 hours. It is highly recommended that you first call your pediatrician and let them help make the decision to visit an urgent care. This helps your pediatrician stay involved with the long term care of your child. 

Reasons to Visit an Emergency Room

There are a number of medical conditions that are considered emergencies because they can require rapid or advanced treatments (such as surgery, X-Rays, etc) that are only available in a hospital setting. These types of scenarios are usually fairly obvious. Inability or trouble breathing, deep lacerations, and broken bones are the most common examples. 

In an emergency, once you’ve gotten your little one the care they need, you should contact your pediatrician so that they’re kept up to speed with the wellness of your child. 

When you’re in a situation where you’ve got to make this type of choice, the main takeaway is that you’ve got to trust your gut and that your pediatrician is on your side. After you’ve done that, if Urgent Care or the ER was the right choice, make sure you’ve gotten in contact with your pediatrician to make sure all of the right choices are being made for your child.

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