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Hospital Vs. Urgent Care: When To Go Where

November 13, 2017
pediatric health care

Believe it or not, children catch between six and 10 colds every year. This is a staggering statistic, but it might not surprise you. Kids run around all day, their immune systems not fully developed, and come into contact with so many germs. Pediatric health care facilities are important institutes for concerned parents. But what happens if your child gets sick and their pediatrician is already overbooked? There is always the hospital, but that can get expensive. In fact, while the average cost of an emergency department visit is $1,500, the average cost of treatment at an urgent care center is under $150. Of course, sometimes it is necessary to go to an emergency room, but when should you take your child to urgent care?

Urgent Care
The best way to describe how an urgent care clinic should be used as a middle ground between pediatric health care (or a general care practitioner) and the emergency room. If your primary care office is closed or overbooked and your child is presenting flu symptoms, an urgent care clinic is the best alternative. Other ailments urgent care clinics are more than capable of handling include broken bones, not fatal lacerations, food poisoning, and of course, the common cold. Sometimes, though, is necessary to go to the hospital.

There are two main situations in which you should go to the emergency room. Urgent care clinics tend to close early on in the night, while hospitals are open 24 hours, and some injuries or medical emergencies might require equipment that only a hospital will have. If you or your child are presenting life-threatening symptoms, it is essential you get to an emergency room. Such instances include severe allergic reactions, chest pain, abnormally high fever, unconsciousness, and internal bleeding. There are other situations in which you might need to go to a hospital, but the best way to determine where you should go for medical aid is by determining if it is a life or death situation. And if you aren’t sure, go to the hospital just in case.

When your child’s pediatric health care professional is unavailable, you will be able to go to an urgent care clinic in most cases. This will save you potentially thousands of dollars in medical bills and provide the care necessary for your child.