Where To Take Your Sick Child For Care
Your toddler is running a fever and acting extra fussy… Do you rush to the emergency room, or simply set an appointment with the pediatrician for next week? How about a trip to the local urgent care center? Determining what level of care your little one needs is often a difficult and confusing task. While your first step should always be a call to your pediatrician or an after-hours answering service to discuss symptoms, below, we offer some general guidelines for when and where to take your sick child for care.
When To Head Straight To The ER
A visit to the emergency room should be reserved for true medical emergencies, such as trauma, surgical procedures, and life-threatening situations.
Call 911 or go right to the ER if your child:
- is under 2 months old and has a fever of 100.4 degrees F or higher
- suffered a serious head or eye injury
- suffered a serious burn or large cut
- had a seizure
- has a broken bone with visible swelling
- shows signs of dehydration (dry lips and mouth, absence of urination for more than 12 hours, lethargy and confusion)
- is having trouble breathing
- ingested a poison, drug, or unknown substance
When To Use An Urgent Care
If your child is able to walk, talk, play and interact, it’s most likely not a medical emergency. For minor injuries and illnesses that require immediate attention, an urgent care center is a time- and cost-saving alternative to the ER.
Urgent care centers are able to treat a wide range of non life-threatening injuries and illnesses, and offer extended evening and weekend hours, usually with X-rays and lab testing on-site. Average waits are under an hour and the cost per visit is much less than the ER.
Common children’s medical issues that can be treated by an urgent care include:
- Coughs/Stuffy Nose
- Strep throat
- Minor Cuts and Burns
- Common Cold
- The Flu
- Pink Eye
- Minor Broken Bones and Sprains
- Ear Infections
It’s also a good idea to call the urgent care ahead of your visit to verify what ages and conditions they treat. Based on your child’s symptoms, the clinic may direct you to the ER.
Now you know the basics of where to take your sick child for care. We’re here for you when an urgent care is the best choice.
Evaluating Your Low Back Pain
Almost every adult will deal with low back pain at some point in their life. In fact, it’s one of the most common reasons people head to the doctor. While most cases of acute low back pain will go away without intervention, a visit to an urgent care center can help rule out more serious conditions and ensure you’re on the quickest road to feeling better.
Symptoms of Low Back Pain:
- Muscle aches in lower spinal region
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Pain that radiates down your leg
- Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking
- Pain that improves with reclining
If you’re suffering from the symptoms above, head into our clinic whenever it’s convenient for you. Our providers can review your medical history and lifestyle for signs of systemic diseases, social and psychological stresses, and risk factors that may be contributing to your pain. We will perform a comprehensive physical exam to inspect the back, assess areas of tenderness, and evaluate your spinal mobility. Through this medical evaluation, we can help narrow down the cause of your low back pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Some common causes of lower back pain include:
Muscle and Ligament Strains
Lifting a heavy object or twisting suddenly can strain the muscles in your back or the ligaments of your spine and cause diffuse back pain.
The intervertebral discs that act as cushions in your spin can become compressed and bulge outward (herniation) or rupture, causing dull or sharp shooting low back pain.
Commonly caused by osteoporosis, a spinal compression fracture occurs when a bone in the spine collapses, leading to debilitating back pain.
A breakdown of the cartilage of the joints and discs in the lower back can make movement difficult and painful.
Scoliosis, a condition in which your spine curves to the side, can lead to back pain later in life.
Visit our clinic today to better understand your lower back pain. Our talented and friendly medical team can quickly evaluate your symptoms, and determine a treatment plan to help you find relief. Initial treatment for low back pain may include hot or cold packs, over-the-counter NSAIDs, cortisone injections, and physical therapy. Integrative medicines such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga and massage may be helpful.
Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Flu
Could your tummy trouble be viral gastroenteritis, AKA the “stomach flu”?
Viral gastroenteritis, commonly known as the “stomach flu”, is an intestinal infection with some seriously miserable symptoms–think nausea, stomach cramps, and frequent beelines to the bathroom. A number of viruses can cause the unpleasant illness, though norovirus is usually to blame. Rotavirus, adenovirus, astrovirus, and sapovirus are also common.
These viruses are highly contagious, spread quickly from person to person, and are most active from October to April. You can catch a stomach bug simply from being near, shaking hands, or sharing personal items with someone who is sick. You can also develop the illness by consuming contaminated food or water (i.e. food poisoning). Anyone can get viral gastroenteritis, though young children, older adults, dormitory residents, and those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable.
It’s important to note that the so-called “stomach flu” is not the same as influenza. Real flu is a respiratory infection, whereas gastroenteritis attacks the intestines.
Viral Gastroenteritis symptoms include:
- Watery, nonbloody diarrhea*
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Nausea, vomiting or both
- Occasional muscle aches or headache
- Low-grade fever
*When you have an intestinal infection, your large intestine struggles to retain fluids, which leads to loose, watery stool, generally without smell or blood. Bloody diarrhea may indicate a more severe infection. Head straight to the ER if you notice this symptom.
Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis come on abruptly, and fortunately, don’t last long. The illness usually runs its course within 1-2 days. And since antibiotics are ineffective against viruses, the best treatment plan is plenty of rest and extra fluids. Dehydration as a result of diarrhea and vomiting can be a serious concern, so head into our urgent care center if:
- You’re unable to keep liquids down for 24 hours
- You experience vomiting that lasts more than two days
- You’re dehydrated — signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, dry mouth, deep yellow urine or little or no urine, and severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
- You’re vomiting blood
- You have a fever above 104 F (40 C)
Our medical team is available 7 days a week to provide quick, quality treatment when you need it most!
Does my child have an ear infection?
Your toddler is tugging at their ear and acting extra fussy. Could it be an ear infection?
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents bring their child to the doctor. In fact, five out of six kids will experience at least one ear infection by their third birthday. The condition, also known as acute otitis media, is an inflammation of the middle ear that occurs when fluid builds up behind the eardrum and becomes infected by bacteria or a virus. Since your child may not yet have the language skills to communicate their pain, it’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of an ear infection, and when it’s time to see a medical provider.
Signs and Symptoms
Tugging or pulling at the ear(s)
- Ear pain that’s worse when lying down
- Irritable, fussier than usual
- Crying more than usual
- Difficulty hearing and/or failing to respond to sounds
- Difficulty balancing
- Drainage from the ear
- Fever (100 F or higher)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
These symptoms can indicate a number of conditions, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment from a medical provider.
When To See A Doctor
Call your child’s doctor, or head right into our clinic if:
- symptoms last for more than a day
- ear pain is severe
- your child is sleepless or irritable after a cold or upper respiratory infection
- you observe a discharge of fluid, pus or blood from the ear
To diagnose ear pain, our provider will review your child’s symptoms, perform a physical exam, and use a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to view the eardrum. The provider may also use a pneumatic otoscope to check for fluid behind the eardrum.
If symptoms indicate a bacterial infection, we may be prescribe a course of antibiotics. Other times, it’s best to simply monitor the situation and focus on symptom management. Some earaches are not caused by infection, and will get better on their own within 1-2 days. Ear drops and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can reduce fever and ease pain.
If your child is suffering from signs and symptoms of an ear infection, we are here for you. Simply walk in for quick, convenient, quality care for you child.
Flu Prevention and Treatment Techniques You Need to Know
Fall is here, and flu season won’t be far behind. Learn the best flu prevention methods, and when it’s time to see a doctor.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and even death. In fact, flu-related illnesses claimed over 80,000 lives just last year! Here’s how to protect yourself and your family this flu season.
Flu viruses occur seasonally (October through May) and spread through droplets in the air when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Follow these simple preventative steps to avoid falling ill.
- The most effective way to fight the flu is to get vaccinated. Flu vaccinations save lives, and the CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine. The vaccine can lessen the severity of an illness –if not prevent it all together– and reduce your risk of serious complications.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and moth, and disinfect surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. While this step isn’t always possible, it’s worth noting!
A sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue? You might have the flu. Here’s how to handle it.
See a doctor ASAP. Your doctor can run a rapid flu test and if indicated, prescribe an antiviral medication proven to lessen the severity and duration of your illness. When taken promptly, antiviral drugs can reduce the time you are sick by 1-2 days and also prevent serious complications, such as pneumonia.
Help stop the spread of flu. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, limit contact with other people and stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except for necessities and to get medical care. When you sneeze and cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw the tissue out and wash your hands.
We treat cold and flu on a walk-in basis, at an affordable price. Visit our clinic today to feel better faster.
Prevent Scars with Proper Wound Care
Cuts, scrapes, and minor wounds are a part of life, but lasting scars don’t have to be. Learn how to care for your wounds and prevent scars.
What Exactly Is A Scar?
When skin is injured, our body produces extra collagen in an effort to repair the wound as fast as possible. This fibrous healing tissue replaces normal skin, and becomes what we refer to as a scar. Most scars are flat and pale, though some may be raised (known as hypertrophic and keloid scars). The appearance of a scar depends on factors such as the size, shape, and location of the wound and the thickness and color of your skin. While some scarring is inevitable, there are some simple ways you can prevent and lessen lasting marks.
Follow These Wound Care Steps To Prevent Scars
- Know when to see a doctor. Wide-set or deep cuts may need stitches. If your wound is deep, painful, or becomes infected, head into our clinic as soon as possible. The key to preventing scars is treating wounds early. Our medical team can quickly evaluate and treat your injury to help you heal faster and minimize scarring. Make sure to follow your provider’s advice on follow-up care and when to get stitches removed.
- Keep the wound clean, moist, and covered. Wash your wound daily, using water, a soft wash cloth, and mild soap. After cleaning, apply petroleum jelly or Aquaphor, and a fresh bandage. This hydrates the wound to promote healing, and also protects it from germs and infection. Properly caring for your wound will allow your body to heal with less work and less scarring.
- Be patient. Wounds take many months to fully heal. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide (it actually slows tissue growth), never pick scabs, and always wear sunscreen to prevent discoloration and further skin damage. A simple, natural healing process is your best bet!
When you need fast treatment for minor cuts and wounds, head into our clinic. We can evaluate your injury and perform stitches, X-rays, and tetanus shots on-site, with no appointment necessary.