Urgent care has filled a gap between primary care and the emergency room. Primary care doctors are often unable to make same-day appointments to see patients immediately, even when the symptoms may call for relatively quick action. While emergency rooms do not require appointments, their wait times are often extremely long. Thus, patients often choose urgent care because it combines the convenience of same-day service with shorter wait times. In fact, 22% of patients choose urgent care over other medical facilities because they believe wait times are shorter and 21% choose urgent care because it is more convenient.
These considerations of short wait times and convenience apply even more when the patient is a child. Most parents hate seeing their children suffer and want their children to be seen as quickly as possible. Moreover, children are often impatient by nature and are even more impatient when sick. For these reasons, urgent care is a good choice for non-life threatening medical problems. Here are five reasons why you might need to take a child to urgent care over other medical facilities.
Many people are unaware that urgent care offers preventative medicine, such as physical exams. Physical exams test the major systems of the body, including the respiratory, circulatory, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems, to make sure that no conditions or illnesses exist. Physical exams also test the child’s vision and hearing. Passing a physical exam is often required before a child can enroll in school or participate safely in sports.
Immunizations often go hand in hand with physical exams. Vaccination schedules can be very complicated and will vary depending on the local and state laws where the child lives. School policies may also determine which vaccinations are needed. Additionally, many vaccines require multiple booster doses after the initial appointment. However, once vaccinated, the child will have immunity to many serious diseases, such as measles, mumps, chickenpox, whooping cough, tetanus, influenza, and polio.
Kids are accident-prone. For little ones, broken bones, cuts, and burns are common. While many minor injuries can be treated with first aid at home, more serious injuries may require some medical attention.
Broken bones are often characterized by pain, swelling, bruising, and, most obviously, abnormal or crooked-looking bones. Almost all broken bones will require a cast or other form of immobilization so that the bone can heal properly. Urgent care clinics have X-ray machines to diagnose broken bones.
Cuts that are deeper than a quarter of an inch often require stitches. Also, cuts on joints, cuts that do not stay closed, and cuts that do not stop bleeding after 15 minutes may require stitches to close.
Burns can typically be treated with first aid and clean dressings. However, third-degree burns, burns larger than two or three inches, burns that appear infected, or burns that were caused by electricity or chemicals typically require medical treatment.
Fevers have many possible causes. For example, a fever can occur as a reaction to a vaccine, as a result of a viral or bacterial infection, or due to overheating in hot weather. A fever can be especially dangerous in children and infants. Medical attention is typically recommended for all fevers over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in infants younger than six months old, fevers that last longer than 24 hours in children between the ages of six months and two years, and fevers that last longer than three days in children over two years old.
According to surveys, the number one cause of fevers in children is an ear infection. Symptoms of ear infections include ear pain, fever, headaches, and difficulty hearing. While doctors typically take a wait-and-see approach to ear infections, diagnosis of ear infections can exclude the possiblity of more serious illnesses.
Children are susceptible to communicable diseases because their immune systems are less developed and they are around other children who carry communicable diseases. Diseases like chickenpox, impetigo, pink eye, and strep throat are all contagious and can be passed from child to child. Early diagnosis can help to stop the spread of these contagious diseases.
In sum, urgent care can be indispensable as part of healthcare for children. It is more convenient than primary care, as appointments are not needed, and has lower wait times than either emergency care or primary care. Contact Care Station Medical Group today to learn more about how urgent care can help your child.