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Sick Child Visits

If your child is sick, they may need to visit a pediatrician or a checkup in order to get the diagnosis and treatment they need. This is known as a sick child visit. It is important to differentiate a sick child visit from other types of pediatrician appointments to ensure your child receives the appropriate care and attention they need.

The purpose of a sick child visit is to diagnose and treat a particular acute health concern affecting your child. Sick child visits differ from check up such as well-child visits, which are carried out at regular intervals to assess the growth and development of your child, administer immunizations, and to detect and address any potential health issues in early stages, when treatment is typically more effective.

Pediatrician sick child visits ensure your child receives the appropriate care by a trained professional who specializes in the health and wellbeing of children. Pediatricians have a thorough knowledge of childhood illnesses and health conditions and are trained to recognize, diagnose, treat, and prevent them to ensure your child is able to stay healthy and thrive throughout their childhood.

When Is A Sick Child Visit Necessary?

If your child is experiencing acute symptoms that are not considered life-threatening, you should seek medical attention from their pediatrician. However, it isn’t always easy to decide when a sick child visit is necessary or whether your child’s symptoms should just be treated at home. In many cases, a healthy child may just need rest and an increase in their fluid intake to feel better.

Below is a general list of the symptoms that should be brought to the attention of your pediatrician as soon as possible. However, if you are worried about your child or need medical advice, you should not hesitate to contact your pediatrician, regardless of their symptoms:

  • A high fever in children younger than one year old
  • A high fever in children older than one year old that is accompanied by other symptoms, such as vomiting, a rash, confusion, headache, or stiff neck
  • High or persistent fever that lasts more than three consecutive days
  • Widespread rash
  • A rash that looks like chicken pox
  • A rash that is accompanied by heavy breathing
  • Persistent pain, such as stomachache, earache, headache, or a sore throat
  • Persistent vomiting, nausea, and/or diarrhea
  • Signs of infection
  • Any unusual symptoms that last for more than three consecutive days

Most pediatricians are unable to accept walk-ins and encourage parents to call ahead to schedule an appointment. Some pediatricians may be able to offer same day appointments to ensure your child is seen promptly. Your pediatrician may also offer telemedicine appointments if you cannot make it to the clinic.

What Can I Expect At A Sick Child Visit?

On average, a pediatrician sick child visit usually takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes. The visit involves evaluating your child’s symptoms and medical history, determining the cause of the problem, prescribing the necessary treatment, providing general health advice, and discussing any other important details. Your pediatrician will also ask about whether you have tried any other treatments or home remedies.

Your pediatrician will then carry out a physical examination, which will be based on the reported symptoms and may include taking your child’s temperature, using a stethoscope to listen to their breathing and heartbeat, and checking your child’s neck or throat for signs of infection.

Based on all this information, your pediatrician should be able to provide a diagnosis and prescribe treatment. Sometimes, further investigation or lab tests, such as a urine test or a stool analysis, may also be requested to confirm a diagnosis or to rule out certain conditions. At the end of a sick child visit, you will be:

  • Given prescriptions for medications, if required
  • Advised of dosage instructions for administering the medications
  • Given instructions to help relieve your child’s symptoms
  • Informed about possible warning signs and how to deal with them
  • Advised when to seek further medical care

When Should I Take My Child To ER?

Although your pediatrician is highly skilled in diagnosing and treating a wide range of childhood illnesses and conditions, they are not equipped to deal with emergency or life-threatening conditions. On this basis, if your child has a serious injury or illness that you think could be life-threatening or leave them permanently impaired, you should seek immediate medical attention at a hospital emergency room, where your child will be urgently treated without the need for an appointment. You can go directly to your nearest ER or dial 911 for emergency medical care.