Family Health Guide

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Walk-In Clinic vs. Doctor's Office

Is it okay to take a sick kid to a walk-in clinic at a pharmacy instead of waiting for a doctor appointment?

I can understand wanting to seek medical care as quickly as possible, especially if it's after office hours. However, many of these walk-in facilities are staffed by providers who are unlikely to have specialized training in pediatrics. This might be okay for an older child with garden-variety symptoms, or a very simple issue, such as a flu shot. But for anything more serious, there's no substitute for a trained pediatrician who knows your child's history. That said, it may be okay to take advantage of a clinic's convenience when you're traveling. But do let your child's doctor know about the visit and recommendations ASAP.

By Lara Zibners, M.D.