With pediatric health conditions, parents may struggle to know what is a true emergency and what can wait until the next day when regular clinics are open. Over the holiday season, especially between Christmas and New Year’s, many clinics are closed. When the holiday falls on a weekend as it does this year, numerous clinics are also closed on the Friday and the Monday around the weekend. Sadly, it seems as if most medical emergencies occur on weekends or holidays, making parents really have to guess at where to take their children. Some parents opt for keeping their children home and may try to treat the illness at home. Parents must learn to distinguish the differences in these illnesses and must know what facilities are open in their area after typical office hours.

Some pediatric health concerns are truly emergencies although they may not seem so at the time. Parents should watch out for rashes with fever, repeated vomiting especially with blood, sudden inability to move an arm or leg and concussion-like symptoms. In addition, severe burns, severe abdominal pain, fever in very young infants and coughing that leads to wheezing require emergency room visits. However, common cold symptoms, minor burns, sprains, minor rashes, sinus infections and bladder infections can typically be treated at an urgent care.

Know When the Emergency Room is Necessary

When a parent’s usual pediatric clinic is closed, they may be tempted to turn immediately to the emergency room. While some cases may require this drastic step and while it is always better to be safe than sorry, numerous other options exist in most larger communities and some smaller ones. Parents should check for the presence of urgent care clinics that often offer hours very early and very late in the day. Some may even offer shortened hours on holidays. Another option for days when drugstores are open are the clinics located inside some Walgreens and CVS pharmacies, which offer care for basic childhood ailments, such as pinkeye, strep throat and influenza. Finally, parents should check with their clinics to find out if there is a number they can call after hours that will connect them to an on-call pediatrician.

“Dr. Matney offers many appointments around the holiday season and can treat a wide range of childhood illnesses. For questions about holiday hours, parents are invited to contact Dr. Matney’s office.