Urgent care clinics are growing in popularity in Central Arkansas and across the U.S. These clinics can be of great use for some pediatric conditions, but often, it is a better idea to see your pediatrician for most childhood conditions. As your child’s PCP, we have then benefit of knowing their full medical history and have the ability to review their medical records to help guide us in decision making.
Some good reasons to visit an urgent care facility during the evening or weekends, when your PCP is not available, are:
- Acute injury with a concern for broken bone
- Simple lacerations
- Difficulty breathing
- Concern for dehydration
Some conditions that could wait to be seen by your pediatrician are:
- Fever (unless your child is less than 2 months old with a fever of > 100.4F)
- Sore throat
- Cold symptoms without difficulty breathing
- Ear pain
- Any chronic conditions like ongoing abdominal pain (not severe, new onset abdominal pain)
It is always preferred that you see your PCP for physicals. We like to see our patients once a year to perform their well child exam or “check-up”, which is a time when we not only can do a physical exam for school or sports, but we also like to check in on how our patients are doing in school, how they are sleeping, eating, etc, and we monitor their growth and development. Even if your child has their well child exam in January for example, but doesn’t need a physical until the summer, we are happy to complete physical exam paperwork at any time, as long as we have an up to date check up on file.
It’s not that we don’t appreciate the convenience of urgent care clinics, and they do provide a great service during times when our office isn’t open to help you with an acute problem. Many times though, urgent care providers are not specialized in pediatric patient populations (did you know your pediatrician spent at least 3 years training just to see children from newborns-teen years?!), and this can result in sometimes unnecessary treatments or treatments that are more appropriate for an adult. In particular, many times antibiotics are prescribed for conditions that might not necessarily need antibiotic treatment.
Always, if you believe you have a life threatening emergency, call 911.
At APC we strive to provide same day appointments for sick children and urgent needs. We also offer walk in hours at our Maumelle office, form 8:20-10 AM, Monday through Friday.