After Hours Care For Kids - HealthCheck

Article Date: Sep 29, 2009

It's almost a guarantee with children. They get sick as soon as the doctor's office closes. Parents often worry about waiting through the night before getting their child medical care. In September's Health Check report, here are the best options.

A seasoned pro, mom Teresa Hamilton has dealt with the unexpected, like when her son, who has respiratory issues, had trouble breathing late at night.

"It was huge because we wouldn't have known what to do. It was my assumption that I should take him, but I didn't know if I was wasting their time or our time and money so it was a tough decision, but I was glad it was Dr. Brown on call."

Hamilton turned to Dr. Larry Brown, an internist with Alegent Health for help. His advice? Consider the child's age. Children three months and younger are treated much more aggressively. And consider what's going on.

Head to an emergency room for true emergencies such as trouble breathing or if it's the only option open after-hours. Head to express care or urgent care for things that aren't emergencies, but can't wait until the morning, like a fever that doesn't drop despite medicine.

And provide tender loving care for minor ailments that pop up late at night as long as a child is alert and acting normally. "It's difficult for a parent to be able to pinpoint it, but for the most part all of us have that, my child is ill, but this is not really an emergency or my child really needs to be seen and people just need to trust their instincts,” says Dr. Brown.

To make at home care easier, Dr. Brown suggests we have the right tools on hand. Pedialyte or Gatorade, clear broth soups, bandages, antibiotic ointment, a good ear thermometer and an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol.

Hamilton has one more suggestion. Find a physician your family connects with, like Dr. Brown. "He's really made us feel like one of the family and so we do feel like we can talk to him about issues we're having."

Another thing to remember is to keep kids with a fever home from school or day care. They should be fever free for 24 hours without medicine before heading back.

Rebroadcast with permission of WOWT.

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