Anyone who has ever cared for a sick baby or a toddler has wondered at some point if they should call 911 or drive to the emergency department in the middle of the night.
Sometimes, the family just has a 'simple' question for their pediatrician. Why is my baby breathing differently? Is the poop supposed to be that color?
In all seriousness, having access to 24/7 pediatrics can make the difference between life and death. Let's learn more about what this means and how it's improving the quality of healthcare.
Round the Clock Healthcare
No one knows when you're going to experience an emergency. Sometimes, the danger is very real, and other times, it isn't actually life-threatening.
But if you aren't a healthcare professional, how are you supposed to know? You never want to take a chance but, on the other hand, we all know how expensive a trip to the emergency room can be in the United States.
That leaves you between a rock and a hard place.
It's precisely this reason that offering 24/7 access to your pediatrician is on the rise.
Every child in Austin deserves access to healthcare. Caregivers deserve access to information they can trust, right when they need it. The advent of pediatric telehealth is already helping lead to overall improved care for our little ones.
The Benefits of Pediatric Telehealth
So, your child wakes up coughing in the middle of the night, but you're not really sure how bad it is and they sure are cranky.
You decide to strap in your screaming infant to the car seat and make your way to urgent care. There, you have to wait 30 minutes to be seen and told it was nothing.
You're glad nothing is wrong and you appreciate their work. But, surely, there has got to be a better way.
Round the Clock Availability
Kids have an interesting way of getting sick when you least expect it. Of course, it’s often during the middle of the night when everything is closed except emergency rooms and expensive urgent care clinics.
One of the most valuable benefits of pediatric telemedicine on-demand is that it is available 24/7. No matter the time or place.
You don't have to 'wait it out' until morning anymore. You can text or call your pediatrician to get the answers you need, right when you need them.
As we mentioned before with the infant in the car seat, going to an urgent care center is always a pain. It certainly doesn't top the list of fun moments with your children.
Now you can find help without even setting foot outside your door.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the same access to medical care. Economic reasons aside, many people live in areas with minimal or nonexistent health care facilities.
Perhaps the closest emergency room is too overcrowded for you to reasonably take your child there. Maybe you're away from the city and the closest doctor is 80 miles away.
Modern medicine can now put a virtual on-call pediatrician within reach anywhere and at any time.
As we said, going to the emergency room can be expensive. Just an ambulance ride costs at least hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
That's before your child even sees a doctor and tests are inevitably performed. The price can be truly staggering.
Taking advantage of an on-call pediatrician completely changes the math though. After all, the ambulance ride and other costs are cut out of the equation.
Reduced Burden on Emergency Services
If you've ever had to wait in an emergency room to be treated, you are somewhat familiar with what professionals call triage. Patients with the most life-threatening conditions are treated first.
This is frustrating for everyone involved. You don't want to wait and emergency room medical workers need to focus first on life and death cases.
With COVID-19 putting a massive strain on the healthcare system around the world, it's more important than ever to avoid unnecessary hospital visits. Emergency room doctors and staff are often already stretched too thin.
Another thing you might not consider is just how much safer it is. Calling from your home can save you a potentially dangerous trip.
Hospitals have long been breeding grounds for dangerous infections. People go there when they are sick so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
However, with COVID-19 running amok, a simple trip to the emergency room can have serious consequences.
When to Call
How should you know when to call? This is a question that many new (and experienced) parents ask us.
The simple answer is anytime you’re worried. It’s not your job to know what’s dangerous and what isn’t. Your job is to find a pediatrician you trust, and one you can contact any time of the day or night.
Here are just a few of the common scary situations a 24/7 pediatrician can help you navigate.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
Many viral infections cause vomiting and diarrhea in children. These viruses run their course without treatment, but until that happens, the real danger is dehydration. When your child has vomiting and diarrhea, a discussion with your pediatrician can help you figure out how to prevent dehydration from happening, and how to know when the situation has become an emergency.
Coughs and Colds
In children, coughs and colds are almost always caused by viral infections. These symptoms will continue until the virus has run its course, which can take 10-14 days. Until your child’s body beats the infection, the real danger is respiratory distress, which happens when the infection moves from the nose and throat down into the lungs.
You will recognize respiratory distress when you look at your child’s breathing, and it appears labored, like they can’t catch their breath or they just finished working out.
Respiratory distress is a medical emergency, but is difficult to describe over the phone. Sending your pediatrician a video of the breathing, or doing a video call with them can answer the question immediately.
Rashes come in many varieties with many possible causes. Most are not dangerous, but some of them are. With the benefit of experience, pediatricians can recognize the most likely cause and best treatment from a few pictures and a simple discussion with the caregivers.
Peace of Mind Anytime of Day
With everything that has been happening in the country, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. The wellbeing of your child should not be another cause for confusion and anxiety.
With 24/7 pediatrics, a licensed professional is always within reach for the people of Austin, Texas.
Want to learn more? Contact us for more information.