We’re so excited to partner with Texas Children’s Hospital on L. Avenue today. A brief back story, I actually worked for TCH doing major gift fundraising, prior to having my first baby! Shortly after, I started a non-profit called Youth Hope Association that works in the TCH Cancer Center. So today, I’m honored and excited to share a little more about the latest and greatest with this leading children’s hospital, as well as a Q&A with Dr. Terry Yen, medical director at Texas Children’s Urgent Care.
One of the main topics I wanted to cover is the difference between urgent care clinics vs. the emergency room. With three kids we’ve had plenty of confusion over where to go when our kids are sick or injured, especially after hours and on the weekend. I found myself googling whether an illness or injury qualifies for an ER visit or urgent care clinic over a standard doctors office visit, and rarely felt confident about where to take my kids. Today, my goal is to cover the main differences in medical facilities so when you’re in a stressful parenting moment, you’ll know exactly where to go and when.
The kids and I got to tour Texas Children’s urgent care clinic in the Heights, just 10 minutes from our house. Typically, my kids spaz out the moment we step foot into a medical facility, but not today! This urgent care felt more like a playground than an urgent care, walled in bright colorful murals and filled with toys, games and coloring books. More than anything, the overall disposition of the pediatric specialists was so cheerful and reassuring.
Prior to working with TCH I had no idea that they actually have 11 Texas Children’s Urgent Care locations in the Houston area. TCH recently opened two new locations in Kingwood and near Katy and has a location in Austin which opened earlier this year. TCH urgent cares have convenient hours on nights and weekends to supplement care when regular pediatrician offices are closed.
With this in mind, let’s dive into my interview with Dr. Terry Yen, medical director at Texas Children’s Urgent Care!
What is an urgent care clinic and when should parents take their child there versus an emergency center?
Great question! When your child is sick, especially at night or on the weekends, it can be difficult to quickly assess the best place to seek health care. Oftentimes, families turn to an emergency center after hours or on weekends when an illness strikes or when a significant event occurs with their child. Although an emergency center can sometimes be the right place for certain incidents or ailments, the majority of the time, minor illnesses and injuries can and should be treated at a pediatric urgent care facility. In fact, did you know that more than half of visits to the emergency room are for non-emergent issues?
Texas Children’s Hospital has both pediatric emergency centers and pediatric urgent care clinics throughout the Houston area. While they are not the same, both are equipped to help your child when seeking immediate help.
So, how do you know which location is right for your child? Reviewing this handy guide may provide some guidance when choosing between a pediatric urgent care vs. a pediatric emergency center:
Urgent Care Clinic
- Abdominal pain
- Allergic reactions
- Ear pain
- Minor burns
- Minor injuries from falls or sports
- Pink eye
- Simple lacerations
- Sinus infections
- Skin infections
- Sore throat
- Sprains and strains
- Urinary tract infections
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Bleeding that won’t stop
- Extensive or complicated cuts or lacerations
- Fainting or head injury with loss of consciousness or disorientation
- Loss or change of vision
- Major fracture that breaks the skin or is at a severe angle
- Seizures without a previous diagnosis of epilepsy
- Serious burns
- Snake bites
- Spinal injuries
- Sudden change in mental state
- Sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Vomiting or coughing up blood
What if my child needs an X-ray?
At Texas Children’s Urgent Care we understand the need for convenience and know that having to go to a separate facility for a common diagnostic imaging test like an X-ray is not something any family wants to do, especially at night or on a weekend. That’s why we offer on-site X-ray capabilities at all 11 of our greater Houston-area urgent care clinics.
Fevers are something parents get concerned about, when should parents worry enough about a fever to take their child to an urgent care clinic?
One of the most common concerns for parents is when their child has a fever. For children 4 weeks of age or younger who have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, parents should immediately take their child to a pediatric emergency center.
For infants between 4 and 8 weeks of age with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, contact your pediatrician’s office for instructions, but these infants are also often referred to a pediatric emergency center for further evaluation.
If your child is older than 8 weeks with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, I encourage parents to contact their pediatrician or seek care at a pediatric urgent care clinic.
Fever in children older than 2 months of age can often be treated during the first 24 to 48 hours with medicine to reduce fever for comfort (Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen) and with oral fluids to maintain hydration. Families should contact their pediatrician or consider visiting a pediatric urgent care clinic if the fever persists for more than 24 to 48 hours, or if your child looks sick despite attempting fever reduction.
What are the most common types of illnesses or injuries you see at Texas Children’s Urgent Care?
Some of the most common conditions we see at Texas Children’s Urgent Care are:
- Ear aches and pink eye
- Fever and illness in those older than 2 months
- Simple lacerations
- Minor falls and injuries
- Croup and asthma
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Skin infections and urinary tract infections
We hope y’all learned a little more about the differences between urgent care and the ER today. Feel free to leave me a question in the comments section or d/m me on Instagram if y’all have any other questions!