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When Is It Time to Call After-Hours Care?

When Is It Time to Call After-Hours Care?

When you have a sick child, it can be difficult to know how quickly to seek medical care.

Our team at Northeast Pediatric Associates PA in San Antonio, North Central San Antonio, Schertz, and Castroville, Texas, understands your challenge. You’re striving to provide your child with the best care and hoping to get them in front of a doctor as soon as possible. But how do you know the urgency of the situation?

We want to help you recognize the signs that warrant a call for our after-hours pediatric care to ensure your child's health and safety. 

Issues that warrant after-hours care

Although many illnesses can be observed during a sick visit, here are the following concerns that should prompt you to call us for an after-hours visit for your child:

Fever

One of the most common reasons you might consider calling after hours is if your child has a high fever. Infants under 3 months old who have a fever over 100.4°F may have a serious infection. Even in older children, a persistent high fever accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy or difficulty breathing warrants immediate medical attention.

Breathing issues

Breathing difficulties are another red flag that should prompt you to call for our pediatric after-hours care. Wheezing, rapid breathing, or gasping for air could indicate a respiratory problem that needs prompt evaluation and treatment. 

Pain

If your child has severe pain of any kind that over-the-counter medications can’t relieve, don’t ignore it — especially if it’s affecting their ability to function normally.

Gastrointestinal problems

If your child experiences gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration can quickly occur. If they can’t keep fluids down or show signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth or decreased urine output, it's essential to seek medical advice promptly. 

Dehydration can escalate rapidly and may require intervention to prevent serious complications.

Head injuries

Head injuries are another concern that should prompt you to call us for after-hours care. Even seemingly minor head injuries can have serious consequences, especially if accompanying symptoms are present like loss of consciousness, confusion, or vomiting. Don’t dismiss any head injury, no matter how small it may seem.

Allergic reactions

If your child has allergies, we can evaluate, diagnose, and treat them. We can provide them with medications, such as epinephrine to prevent a severe allergic reaction from becoming fatal.

However, if your child has a severe allergic reaction and you don’t have the proper medication, it could be life-threatening, requiring immediate medical attention. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, or hives.

In this case, call 911 immediately for prompt medical treatment.

Seizures

If your child has a seizure, especially if it lasts longer than a few minutes or if they have difficulty breathing afterward, call 911 immediately. It's important to keep your child safe during a seizure and seek medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause.

Trust your gut

Knowing when to call after hours for our pediatric care requires vigilance and awareness of your child's symptoms. Trust your instincts as a parent, and don't hesitate to seek our medical advice if you're concerned about your child's health. 

It's always better to err on the side of caution and seek help promptly rather than risk a delay in treatment. Your child's health and well-being are worth the extra effort and peace of mind that comes from seeking timely medical care.

What to expect when you call our after-hours care line

When you call our practice after hours, you’ll be directed to speak with one of our knowledgeable, caring nurses. Depending on your child’s symptoms, our nurse can provide guidance or have our on-call physician notified so your child’s condition can be treated promptly.

For less urgent matters, schedule an appointment online, or request a visit via telehealth.

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