Being a parent comes with many challenges. For some parents, challenges arise when their child gets sick, particularly when the illness occurs after the pediatrician's normal business hours. Should I wait until the next day to take my child to the doctor or is the issue serious enough to visit a treatment center tonight? While there isn't a rigid standard to answer this question by, there are some factors that can assist with pointing you in the right direction.
How your child is behaving can offer some indication on the severity of treatment. Take a child who suffers a fall off their bike, for example. The child doesn't seem to be showing any signs of an outward injury and is playful and energetic. However, they suddenly seem to get sleepy or even disoriented. In this instance, this is a clear change in the child's behavioral pattern and could be an indication of trauma to the head.
Particularly when it comes to younger children who are unable to talk, you should also look for any signs that they are favoring a particular part of their body. Using the previous example, the child that fell off the bike might avoid using their left arm. This could be a sign that their arm is injured and needs an examination. No matter the injury, if your child's behavior seems to take an explained turn, prompt medical care is important.
Fever Level and Responsiveness
The level of fever your child has is going to offer the greatest insight when it comes to the severity of the problem. For example, a low-grade fever (99 to 100.9 degrees) is typically not a medical emergency and you can generally wait until the next morning to speak with the child's pediatrician about the issue. A high-grade fever (greater than 103.6 degrees) that doesn't seem to lower with over-the-counter treatments or is causing discomfort to your child should probably be addressed at a walk-in clinic instead of waiting to visit the doctor the next day.
It's also important to note that even when it comes to a fever, your child's behavior is important. Even if your child has a low-grade fever, if the child seems lethargic, appears to be in pain or overly fatigued, this could be a sign of a serious infection. In this case, medical treatment from a tampa walk in clinic should be considered.
As with any issue concerning your child, a physician should be your primary source of information. If your child is sick, don't hesitate to reach out to a medical professional for assistance or get your child treatment, no matter the time of day.