It’s two in the morning, and you can hear coughing and wheezing coming from your child’s bedroom. After being sent home from school with a fever yesterday, they barely ate dinner and asked to go to bed early – this definitely didn’t seem like your normal playful, active child! You go to them and feel that their forehead is hot to the touch. Is it OK to give them some ibuprofen and hope they go back to sleep? Is it time to take them to the emergency room? How do you know you’re making the right decision?
One of the most challenging parts of parenthood is taking care of a sick child at home. Decision making about ways to access emergency care has also gotten much more complicated and challenging since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. At South Lake Pediatrics, we want to partner with parents and families to help them understand their options when it comes to emergency care.
An excellent first step is to call our Nurse Triage Line. During the daytime, after hours, or on weekends, this number is the same as the scheduling line: 952-401-8300. Parents can speak directly to a pediatric nurse who can give advice and recommendations about the treatment of many common illnesses and injuries. If needed, they can also connect parents to a physician in clinic or the on-call physician after hours. This is really the best way to decide if a child needs emergency room care or whether symptoms can be managed at home until the clinic opens in the morning. South Lake keeps appointment times available on our schedules every day Monday through Saturday for our sick patients!
Some examples of illnesses that don’t require emergency room care include ear infections, fevers in children over the age of 2 months, diarrhea, rashes including diaper rashes, or wanting to be checked for illnesses such as Strep throat or Covid-19.
Emergency room care can seem like a convenient option, but you should be aware of some potential considerations:
- High cost
- Long wait times
- Potential for exposure to other contagious illnesses including Covid-19
Not all emergency rooms are created alike! If you do decide to go to the emergency room, we recommend one of the emergency rooms staffed with pediatric physicians. In the western metro area, these include:
University of MN Masonic Children’s Hospital, 2450 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis MN 55455
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics Minneapolis, 2525 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis MN 55404
West Health, 2855 Campus Dr, Plymouth MN 55441
212 Medical Building, 111 Hundertmark Rd, Chaska MN 55318