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There are few things more nerve-racking to parents than when their child is sick or hurt. Staying up into the wee hours of the night with a child who is not feeling well is something every parent will probably experience. So how do you know when you should take your child to the doctor? And on the weekend or overnight, how do you decide whether you should keep treating your child at home or take your child to an urgent care or emergency room?
Dr. Angela K. Yaffe, chief medical officer with Just Kids Pediatrics, said every parent should have a plan in place for a situation like this.
“It is never a bad idea to seek medical attention if the parent is not comfortable with the concern,” Dr. Yaffe explained. “Having a premeditated plan in place prior to illness or injury about where to go and or who to call will be a big source of relief for the parent when that time actually comes.”
Dr. Yaffe recommends healthychildren.org to help understand true emergencies. Here’s a portion from the website:
- It is rare for children to become seriously ill with no warning. Based on your child’s symptoms, you should usually contact your child’s pediatrician for advice. Timely treatment of symptoms can prevent an illness from getting worse or turning into an emergency. A true emergency is when you believe a severe injury or illness is threatening your child’s life or may cause permanent harm. In these cases, a child needs emergency medical treatment immediately. Discuss with your child’s pediatrician in advance what you should do in case of a true emergency.
So why should you choose an urgent care clinic over an emergency room?
“Urgent care clinics are aiming to provide easy access to patients to provide care for problems that will help them feel better as quick as possible while they are waiting on appointments with their primary care provider," Dr. Yaffe said. "One of the assumed differences from ER visits is that the problem is lower acuity, less serious. If it is a serious problem that appears life threatening or if there is any loss of consciousness, they should go to the ER.”
But not all urgent care clinics are created equal. In fact it’s a relatively new concept to have pediatric specific urgent care clinics, according to the Society for Pediatric Urgent Care.
“Some will specifically restrict certain ages,” Dr. Yaffe explained. “There is a big difference. Pediatric urgent cares are staffed specifically with pediatric providers, clinicians that have undergone specialized training in pediatrics. The entire staff is familiar to the special considerations that having a patient that is young can bring. Going to general urgent cares is more of a gamble on what the comfort level with pediatric medicine will be for the clinician caring for your child.”
Some offices, like Just Kids Pediatrics, can help patients know where to take their child when the parent is unsure.
“Many pediatric offices are accustomed to helping their patients’ parents make these decisions about the most appropriate place to seek attention based on the nature of their concern,” Dr. Yaffe continued. “Our clinic is open with extended hours that cover until 9 p.m. on weekdays and until 5 p.m. on weekends where they will find access to our staff. Our nursing staff, with support from our providers, can help parents make this decision about when and where their child should be seen. Outside of these hours, our parents have access to a group of pediatric registered nurses to help them make these decisions.”
Just Kids Pediatrics is a specialized pediatric primary care and urgent care practice staffed by highly trained pediatricians and child specific providers. Just Kids Pediatrics provides not only primary care visits and scheduled appointments but also offers walk-in, urgent care appointments to any pediatric patients during all operating hours. Unlike most traditional urgent care practices, Just Kids Urgent Care specializes in treating children and teenagers only. Just Kids Urgent Care also takes special care to communicate directly with each patient’s primary care provider the day of the patient’s visit, for the patients that assume primary care outside of the practice. This ensures timely follow-up and continuity of care.
With a plan in place, next time your little one comes down with an illness or is injured no matter what time or what day it is, you can have a reassuring experience instead of a frightening one.
Below is a list of common symptoms and illnesses that can be treated at urgent care clinics such as Just Kids Pediatrics Urgent Care:
– Abdominal pain
– Infections (ear/eye/urinary tract/skin)
– Sore throats
– Headaches and colds
– Sports related injuries
Additionally, treatment for minor accidents includes:
– Insect/animal bites
– Sports injuries
– Foreign body removal
Just Kids Pediatrics has two locations: 2921 S.W. 89th St. in Oklahoma City and 400 N. Eastern in Moore.
Angi Bruss is a Telly award-winning video host/anchor/reporter/voice talent/producer/editor in Oklahoma City. With over 10 years of broadcast experience, she is currently a public relations consultant and a wife and mother to two beautiful girls.