by Spencer Gray
It’s easy to overreact as a parent to your small child’s illness. Think about it; we often do it when it comes to our health as well. How many times have you gone to the doctor thinking a sore throat is life-threatening? It’s no different for your child. However, there are times when a simple cold can warrant a trip to an urgent or express care clinic.
Taking your child to a place described as “urgent” can make even the most steady parents nervous. Don’t worry; there’s no need to pop open a Pepto when you’re in the waiting room. Urgent or express care clinics are designed to help patients who are experiencing non-life-threatening conditions but still require immediate attention.
There are quite a few benefits of taking your child to an urgent or express care clinic. No appointments are needed; they operate on a walk-in basis. They are also open later compared to other facilities and are typically more affordable when compared to emergency room visits.
Here in Emporia, the Newman Regional Health Medical Partners Express Care Clinic is open weekdays 1-9 pm and weekends 10 am to 6 pm. These extended hours are great for parents who can’t take off from work or their family doctor can’t be seen on the weekends.
So, when does your child’s cold graduate from soup and blankets to a trip to urgent or express care? One thing to keep in mind is that children, especially those on the younger side, are very susceptible to colds compared to teenagers and adults. In fact, they typically catch up to eight or more colds per year, according to kidshealth.org. That number thankfully goes down as they get older.
The most common symptoms of a cold in children are a runny/stuffy nose, cough, mild headaches, body aches, fever, and fatigue. These aren’t very alarming symptoms, but here are some things to keep an eye on:
• difficulty breathing or making an odd sound when trying to breathe
• symptoms that last longer than usual (more than a week to ten days)
Long-lasting or severe symptoms could point to other conditions like Strep or an ear infection. An urgent or express care clinic is for non-life-threatening conditions. It should not be a replacement for an emergency room visit if one is necessary.
The best mindset to have is to err on the side of caution. If you’re concerned or confused about what to do, call your pediatrician if during regular office hours and see if they can get your child seen (was originally “in” but I prefer “seen”) that day. If they can’t, or if it’s after hours, be safe and visit an urgent or express care clinic.