It's ten o'clock at night and your two year old is running a high fever; your over the counter fever reducing medicine isn't bringing it down. Your pediatrician's office is closed. What do you do? Your first instinct may be to drive to the nearest emergency room, but there's a new option that more and more parents are taking advantage of – the urgent care clinic. Urgent care clinics generally treat injuries and illnesses that can't wait for the doctor's office to open, but aren't serious enough for an emergency room visit. Here are a few good reasons why urgent care is a better option for your child.
Most people have had the experience of waiting in the emergency room to have a serious but non-life threatening condition examined at least once. It can be a long wait. Emergency rooms handle every type of medical situation, and tend to be more crowded and filled with people who have more serious conditions, which increases the wait times, especially if your condition is less serious. Long waits can be very frustrating for an adult – they're even more frustrating for a sick or injured child.
The average wait time in an emergency room is more than two hours. The average wait time in an urgent care center like 24 Hour Urgent Care of the Desert is between 15 and 45 minutes. That means that you and your child will be home and feeling better that much sooner if you seek treatment at an urgent care center.
It's a simple fact that the longer you are sitting in a waiting room populated mostly by sick people, the more likely you are to be exposed to an illness yourself. What's more, an emergency room waiting room is likely to contain people who are sicker – and possibly more infectious – than you would find in an urgent care clinic.
This exposure can be especially problematic for children. Young children who are not fully vaccinated or whose immune systems are not fully developed, as well as sick children who are more vulnerable to additional infections, are at risk of picking up a more serious condition the longer they sit in a waiting room. While an urgent care waiting room is unlikely to be free of germs, children are still less likely to pick up a new serious illness in an urgent care waiting room than in an emergency room.
It's Less Traumatic
Emergency rooms can be upsetting for small children. Witnessing the arrival of a car accident victim or watching the staff perform emergency resuscitation on a patient suffering from cardiac or respiratory arrest could be understandably traumatic for any child, especially one who is already feeling ill.
Because urgent care centers handle less severe traumas and less acute illnesses, your child is less likely to witness something that will upset them at a time when they are already feeling vulnerable.
Of course, there are still times when an emergency room is the best choice for your child. However, for serious but non-life threatening conditions, look for an urgent care center in your area instead of going to the emergency room.Share