Injury and illness are bound to happen to most people at some point, and finding the right medical attention is essential for good health, but different places work for different patient and problems. Pediatric urgent care, for example, is a different service than a retail clinic, and a hospital’s ER is again something entirely different. What can urgent care do? What symptoms call for what services? How does pediatric care work for children?
Unlike an urgent care center, the emergency room is for life-threatening illness or injury that urgent care or a pedi center cannot easily handle. An emergency room may treat broken arms or legs, bullet or stab wounds, head or eye injuries, and chest pain and difficulty breathing. Breathing problems could threaten one’s life, making it too serious a problem for an ordinary urgent care clinic. And chest pain could be the start of a cardiac event, something only an emergency room can handle. However, sometimes, patients visit the ER for issues that an urgent care clinic or pediatric urgent care could handle instead, and the ER is much more expensive. Knowing where to go for a symptom can save a lot of money as well as time.
When should you go to urgent care? Non life-threatening symptoms and illnesses can be treated at such places, which are very common and affordable. In fact, an estimated three million American patients visit urgent care clinics each week, according to data from the Urgent Care Association of America. About 60% of urgent care clinics will wait 15 minutes or under to be seen by medical staff, and 65% of these centers will have a physician on-site at all times. Symptoms and illnesses such as the common cold and flu, rashes, sprains, food allergies, and broken fingers or toes can all be treated at these centers. In fact, four out of five urgent care centers are capable of handling bone fractures. Retail care centers are located in major shopping centers such as Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens, making them easy to find.
Pediatric Urgent Care
Patients aged from newborn to teenagers often need pediatric urgent care, since their bodies are not really like miniature adult bodies, according to News Medical. Pediatricians can offer mental, physical, and emotional care for their young patients, and can care for both chronically ill children and provide preventative care to healthy ones. Pediatric urgent care is available for those under 18 at any stage of development. Often, behavioral and personality problems, or the potential for them, are taken care of by these pediatricians, and even mental problems associated with adults such as depression and anxiety can be addressed at pediatric urgent care. Physically, various injuries, infections, and even cancers and organ dysfunctions can be handled at these facilities.
Another ramification of working with patients under age 18 is the law of consent and other legal issues. Legally, these patients cannot make such decisions for themselves, unlike adult patients, so pediatric urgent care works carefully with the parents or guardians of young patients for procedures as well as for privacy issues. Pediatricians prepare for this job by first graduating medical school, then get education at a pediatric residency for three years and must later pass a comprehensive written exam and get certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. Every seven years, the pediatrician will need re-certification. And like with doctors who work for adult patients, pediatricians can specialize in certain fields, such as endocrinology, hematology, nephrology, and pediatric cardiology.