Make the Call: Wait ‘Til Morning or Head to a Walk-In Clinic?

Hispanic-Mother-with-Sick-ChildWe’ve all been there with our kids, an aging parent or even a spouse: a mystery fever takes hold after dinner; stomach cramps increase in intensity before bed; or maybe a disturbing cough refuses to quiet.

Of course you’d rather wait until morning to call your primary care physician and talk with a nurse who’s familiar with your family history. But when symptoms worsen, so does the worry.

“That fever won’t break. Should we take him to see a doctor tonight?”

“She just can’t keep anything down.”

Sometimes peace of mind is worth an evening or weekend trip into a walk-in clinic, especially for worsening symptoms surrounding ailments like cough and flu, sore throat, fractures and strains, nausea, vomiting or even uncomfortable skin rashes.

“We see so many different types of illness and injuries, it can be hard to narrow down absolutes,” said Dr. Calvin Bell, medical director of Memorial’s three ExpressCare clinics. “I suggest people call their primary care physician for instructions if there is ongoing concern.”

However, Dr. Bell provides four “tipping points” to look for when making the decision to go to a walk-in facility like ExpressCare:

  • A persistently high fever that doesn’t respond to acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • Persistent or worsening shortness of breath
  • Continual vomiting or an inability to take in liquids
  • Confusion or change in mental state

These worsening symptoms don’t always take place during normal office hours when a primary care physician is available. That’s when after-hours clinics like ExpressCare can help alleviate both the worry and the symptoms.

To provide patients with even more convenient, high-quality care, all three Memorial ExpressCare locations in Springfield will expand their hours, effective Oct. 1, to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. No appointment is necessary, and imaging and lab tests are available on-site. Visit or text “wait” to 411217 for wait times at the Koke Mill, South Sixth and North Dirksen ExpressCare locations.