Without fail, your child will start coughing or spike a fever at the least opportune time, like a Friday evening after a long week at school or bright-and-early on a holiday morning.
It can be hard to know the difference between what can wait and what needs emergency care. Ashley Lucas, MD, medical director of pediatrics with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health, shares how parents can get connected to the right care at the right time.
No matter what day or time it is, if your child is sick, you can call Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health line, (833) 374-HEAL. You will speak with one of our experienced triage nurses who can help you determine your next steps. The nurse or an on-call doctor can help you arrange follow-up care and avoid an unnecessary visit to the emergency room. Here are a few things to consider:
- Urgent Care seems convenient, but your best care will always come from someone who knows you, has access to your chart and is trained to care for children.
- Reasons to go to the emergency room: new-onset seizures, lethargy, dehydration, fever in a baby less than two months old, uncontrolled bleeding, severe pain or breathing difficulty.
- Things that can usually wait until the next day include fever in children older than three months, coughs and colds, minor rashes, mild stomach aches, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, urinary discomfort, earaches, germ exposure and minor injuries.
Getting in to see one of our providers is easy. Most of our clinics have same-day appointments available online, and we will see any sick child within 24 to 48 hours. Most of our clinics offer extended hours on evenings and weekends. There is always a nurse and a doctor on call after hours.
Parents are always welcome to call us, but we also offer MyChart, an electronic portal that allows you to make appointments and email your child’s care team from your computer, tablet or phone. Messages sent via MyChart are answered during regular office hours, so call us if you need to speak to someone immediately.
Our new pediatric symptom checker is another always-available tool we provide to help parents decide what type of care their child needs.
Our pediatricians and providers are committed to your child’s health 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We provide exceptional care around the clock. It’s that simple.
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