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When to Take Your Sick Child to the Doctor

When to Take Your Sick Child to the Doctor

Kids catch colds and contract other illnesses a lot — usually much more frequently than adults. There are many possible reasons for that: often grouped together in classrooms and other spaces, it’s a lot easier for germs to pass from one child to another. Kids' immune systems are still developing, which means they’re not able to fight off infections as easily as most adults. 

Kids may not be skilled at sneezing the “right” way, blowing their noses, or washing their hands. And finally, kids’ eustachian tubes — tubes connecting the ears and sinuses — are still developing, which means sinuses may not drain efficiently, allowing germs to gather and grow.

Whatever the reason, when your child is sick, it can be nerve-racking for parents, and it’s no fun for the child, either. Sick visits help kids feel better faster, and they’re also important for making sure a more serious condition isn’t brewing.

A leading primary care practice with multiple locations in San Pedro, California, Harbor Community Health Centers offers a full range of pediatric care, including pediatric sick visits. In this post, our team helps you decide when it’s time to call the office and schedule a sick visit for your child.

When to schedule a sick visit

When your child doesn’t feel well, it’s very tempting to let them stay in bed while you provide some extra TLC. For mild colds and other simple issues, that might be perfectly fine. But for more serious symptoms, a sick visit is the best way to make sure your child gets the care they need to prevent complications.

In general, it’s a good idea to schedule a sick visit if your child has symptoms like:

For these issues, our team schedules visits to help kids get treatment right away.

What if your child has mild symptoms? It’s still a good idea to call our office. That’s because a child’s immune system is still developing, which means even a minor illness can become more serious very quickly. We can help you decide if a sick visit is the best way to help them get on the road to recovery quickly.

What happens during a sick visit

Sick visits begin with a review of your child’s symptoms, along with simple evaluations of general health, like blood pressure measurements and temperature. We evaluate the throat and ears for signs of inflammation and listen to their heart and lungs.

We’ll check their neck glands and we may gently palpate (press) their belly to check for areas of tenderness or swelling. We also perform other evaluations depending on your child’s symptoms, medical history, vaccination history, and other factors.

Once we determine what’s causing your child’s illness, we may prescribe medication or other testing, like urine tests, blood tests, or diagnostic imaging. For most kids, we also make home care recommendations, like getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids. And of course, we tell parents how to monitor their child for worsening symptoms that might require another visit.

Help your child stay healthy

Sick visits are important for helping your child battle illnesses and other medical problems, but preventive care is important, too. By having regular well visits, you help your child prevent diseases and illnesses through vaccines, testing, and other services aimed at identifying problems early.

No child wants to be sick, and having a sick visit is one of the best ways to help your child feel better as quickly as possible. To learn more, call 310-547-0202 to schedule an appointment with the team at Harbor Community Health Centers today. 

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