Pediatricians understand the many factors that affect the growth and development of children
By Barbara Pierce
Summer is here. If you have kids, you never know what to expect.
Your toddler may get an earache, your third-grader a bad sunburn, your teen steps on a piece of glass in his bare feet.
What do you do?
You have a choice. Should you take him to his pediatrician, to urgent care, to the emergency room or treat him at home? Knowing which choice to make isn’t always clear.
“That’s an easy question,” said pediatrician Taryn Rio, Slocum-Dickson Medical Group. “Take your child to his pediatrician.”
“As his pediatrician, we’ve been getting to know your child and your family over time. We may have seen him since birth, or, at least for the past few years,” he added. “We can take better care of your child because we know your child and we know your family.”
Pediatricians are specialists. That means, in addition to medical school, they have had several years of extensive, specialized training and experience in treating infants, children and adolescents. They have experience with all aspects of childhood health.
Children’s bodies are different from adults. They have their own range of potential illnesses, their bodies react very differently to illness and medications and they often present a considerable challenge in obtaining a good physical exam.
Pediatricians are concerned with the physical, emotional and social health of children from birth to young adulthood, explained the Slocum-Dickson website. Pediatric care encompasses a broad spectrum of health services ranging from preventative health care to the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic diseases.
“A lot of what we do isn’t an urgent visit, but things that take a while to develop, like growth and development, and mental health,” added Rio. “That’s the main part of our job.”
Pediatricians understand the many factors that affect the growth and development of children. Children change rapidly and they must be approached with an appreciation for their stage of physical and mental development.
A good pediatrician is experienced in dealing with kid’s fear of needles, fear of doctors, tantrums and worried parents. They know how to put kids at ease and are patient with the questions of concerned parents.
And they will know when your child has an illness or disorder and needs to see a specialist.
“Urgent care is necessary for emergencies that happen on weekends, like broken bones or the need for stiches,” Rio explained. “But when we see your child for normal sick things like a sore throat, we can see that illness or accident in the whole context of who your child is. And we can provide better care than someone who’s never seen him before and will never see him again.”
Children deserve a doctor who knows them, knows their history, knows their allergies and what medications they have been on. Knows about all those ear infections or asthma attacks and when they are causes for concern. If the urgent care doctor diagnoses your child with multiple cases of strep throat but never does a strep test, your child may end up having completely unnecessary surgery.
Having a pediatrician who knows your child best could be crucial to your child’s health.
Research shows that children who see the same pediatrician at visits have better health in the long run. Children grow and develop rapidly and getting to know your child and family can help.
It’s especially important to see the same pediatrician if your child has a chronic condition, such as asthma, ADHD, high blood pressure or diabetes. Patients who see the same pediatrician for chronic conditions have better control of the condition than patients who see different pediatricians at their visits.
Another plus for parents—you don’t have to tell your child’s story to each new face you see. Your child’s pediatrician can help you navigate through a sometimes complex health system to ensure your child gets the care they need and can often limit the need to refer to other specialists.
“At Slocum-Dickson, we have six pediatricians,” said Rio. “We see kids from birth to college. We do the whole range of care, from vaccinations to sick visits, well visits, mental health concerns, like depression and anxiety.”
“One of the unique things about Slocum-Dickson Medical Group is that we offer an urgent care on-site and a physician is always on duty,” added marketing manager Sara Park. “Your medical records and visit notes are shared with your Slocum-Dickson primary care physician. We see patients 2 years old and up, so it’s like an extension of our pediatric department on evenings and weekends. Plus, you can check in online on our website in advance so that your child doesn’t have to wait in the waiting room.”
Urgent care is open seven days a week.