Being a mom or dad can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It certainly comes with lots of ups and downs and an interesting mix of drama and scary moments. It would be so much easier if you were given a manual on how to raise kids as you left the delivery room. If only!
For most parents and caregivers, one of the most challenging moments of raising a child is when they get sick. Regardless of whether you’re a new parent or you already have children, having a sick child can leave you feeling helpless and afraid.
Fortunately, the highly skilled providers at Generations Family Practice in Cary and Raleigh, North Carolina, are experts in diagnosing and treating sick children. In this blog, they explain what you should do if your child gets sick and how you can make the most of a sick visit.
Deciding between emergency care and a sick visit
The very first dilemma you’ll need to conquer when your kid gets sick is where you should take them. Do you call 911, go to the emergency room, or make a sick visit appointment with your pediatric care specialist?
As a rule of thumb, if your child is unconscious, has suffered a catastrophic injury, or is undergoing a potentially life-threatening situation, such as poisoning, choking, severe burns, or isn’t breathing, call 911.
If the symptoms are serious but not quite life-threatening, an emergency room visit may be your best bet. Emergency room situations could include things like minor fractures, animal bites, or allergic reactions that don’t affect breathing.
Sick visits are reserved for acute situations that can be managed through an appointment-based visit. Medical issues that can fall within sick visits include fevers that last for three days or longer, rashes, sore throats, vomiting, diarrhea, earaches, and sprains.
When deciding, keep in mind that you know your child best. If something seems really off, regardless of the symptoms, call your pediatric specialist right away. Your doctor can assist you on the best course of action.
Come prepared to discuss the symptoms
Having a sick child is definitely unnerving. Both you and your child may arrive to the sick visit a little stressed out. You may not be at your best when you arrive, so try to take some time prior to the visit to jot down things, such as your child’s specific symptoms, when they started, and any background details that might be related to the issue.
Arrive with a list of questions
Typically, a sick-child visit takes about 15-30 minutes. Much of that time is taken up by a physical examination, an evaluation of your child's symptoms, and going over any pertinent medical history. Ultimately, your provider determines a diagnosis and treatment plan. Once started, these appointments can fly by quickly.
So make sure to arrive with a list of questions. For example, you could ask when your child should start feeling better, what the warning signs are that the condition could be getting worse, and what can be done, if anything, to prevent the illness from happening again.
Focus on the immediate medical issue
Similarly, keep the focus of the appointment on the current issue at hand, so you and your child’s doctor can get to the bottom of the problem and get your child feeling better as soon as possible.
If you’ve been meaning to make a well-child visit to discuss some unrelated issues, such as behavioral problems or vaccines that your child may need, make a well-child appointment before you leave. Sick visits generally aren’t the time to delve into unrelated topics.
If your child is sick or has developed symptoms of concern, our providers at Generations Family Practice can help. For a same-day appointment or a regular visit, book an appointment online or over the phone with Generations Family Practice today.