Whether your child is a newborn or a college student, when he or she gets
sick, you will want to know where to turn for medical care. Dr. Ryan Greemann with
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Maiden encourages parents to be prepared
beforetheir children get sick by understanding the difference between getting
care in an Emergency Room (ER), at an Urgent Care clinic or at a Primary
“If your child isn’t having life-threatening symptoms, most
situations don’t warrant a trip to Urgent Care or the Emergency
Room,” says Dr. Greemann. “Instead, try calling your primary
care practice as soon as possible and ask for a same-day or next-day appointment.
Family medicine, also known as primary care should be your first line
of defense to treat a sick child because we have an ongoing role in your
Some of the typical symptoms and illnesses primary care providers treat include:
- Upper respiratory infections – coughs, congestion, fever or flu symptoms,
sinus problems, ear infections, sore throats, bronchitis
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration
- Eye or skin infections
- Mild or moderate asthma attacks
Catawba Valley Family Medicine practices are located throughout the Greater Hickory area with 16 offices
and 47 providers. Many practices offer extended hours ranging from 7:30am
to 7:30pm. Established patients can also call the “on call”
provider after office hours, during weekends and on holidays.
When your child is sick but you can’t wait for a primary care appointment,
consider going to Urgent Care. These locations offer extended weekday
and weekend office hours and also accept patients who don’t have
an established primary care provider. The cost of an Urgent Care visit
is much less expensive than going to the ER, with shorter wait times.
Dr. Greemann says, “Parents can’t predict when their child
gets sick and they should err on the side of caution.”
Catawba Valley Urgent Care Centers can be found at two locations:
Catawba Valley Urgent Care – Maiden is open Mon-Fri from 5pm to 6:30pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.
Catawba Valley Urgent Care – Claremont is open Tues & Thur from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.
By the very definition of the word “emergency”, an Emergency
Room is the appropriate setting for any life-threatening condition that
requires immediate medical attention. Because the ER never closes, your
child can be seen there anytime. But, remember ERs operate on a triage
basis with the sickest, most urgent patients receiving care first. If
your child has a less severe illness, you may have a longer wait than
other patients. More than 51,000 patients are treated at Catawba Valley
Medical Center’s ER every year. So, if possible, spare yourself
an unnecessary trip there. Your sick child may be exposed to more germs
or infections carried by other visitors at the ER. There is also a Fast
Track service in the ER for ailments like ear infections, cold/flu symptoms,
sore throats, and more. This can speed up the time it takes to be treated,
but these services are still considered an ER visit and are billed as
such. A few conditions that may require immediate medical attention include
severe asthma attacks; coughing or vomiting blood; difficulty breathing;
severe diarrhea or dehydration; shock and seizures. The
Catawba Valley Medical Center ER is located on the south side of the hospital at 810 Fairgrove Church
Rd SE, Hickory NC, 28602.
“Catawba Valley Health System has you covered no matter where you
decide to take your sick child,” says Greemann. “We also have
shared electronic medical records that allow providers to coordinate care
across each setting. Dr. Greemann is now scheduling patients at
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Maiden located at 137 Island Ford Rd. Please call 828.428.2446 for an appointment.
IMPORTANT: this article offers general information about which course of action parents
may pursue during a child’s illness. It’s extremely important
not to ignore a health emergency. If a situation seems life-threatening,
call 911 right away.