Sunshine pediatrics

How Do I Know If My Child Could Benefit from a Sick Visit

Mar 19, 2024
How Do I Know If My Child Could Benefit from a Sick Visit
If your child isn’t feeling well, your primary aim is to do whatever you can to help them get better. A sick visit can help — but is it always necessary? Here, learn when to call for an appointment so your child can get the care they need.

Colds, flu, ear infections, and other acute illnesses aren’t uncommon in kids. Fortunately, you can manage many illnesses with rest and medical attention, sometimes alongside medication to stop more severe infections in their tracks.

So, how can you tell when your child needs a sick visit to help them feel better and prevent potential complications?

At Sunny Hill Pediatrics, Min Jung, MD helps kids (and their parents) manage illnesses like flu, ear infections, strep throat, and other problems, using a patient-centered approach to relieve symptoms and treat underlying infections. If your child is sick, here’s how to tell if they need to see us.

When to schedule a sick visit

You may not want to bundle up your sick child and drive them to the doctor’s office, but there are some instances where it’s critical to bring them in so we can evaluate their symptoms and manage their treatment. In general, it’s a good idea to call our office if your child has these symptoms:

  • Sore throat, especially one that’s worsening
  • Chronic or worsening cough
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Earache with or without discharge
  • Swollen glands
  • Stiff neck
  • Hives or rashes
  • Fever
  • Unusual tiredness or fatigue
  • Unexplained pain
  • Allergic reactions

These symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition or, like allergic reactions, they may worsen quickly, and prompt medical treatment is essential for preventing serious consequences.

During your child’s visit, we review their symptoms and their past medical history, including their history of previous illnesses. We take their temperature, check their glands for signs of swelling, look at their eyes and ears, listen to their heart and lungs, palpate their belly, and perform other evaluations. We may order lab tests, as well.

If your child has a sore throat or severe respiratory symptoms, we may use a special swab to gently wipe the inside of the throat or nasal passages. When analyzed in a lab, these swab samples help us target treatment for the specific germ that’s infecting your child.

At the end of the visit, we may prescribe medication or additional testing, like blood tests or urinalysis. We also guide you on supportive care to help your child feel better.

Preventing illnesses with well visits

While seeking medical care for illnesses is critical, it’s also important to schedule well visits to monitor for health issues and provide essential preventive care. During a well visit, we perform a series of health assessments and offer vaccines to give your child’s immune system the extra help it needs to ward off dangerous and potentially life-threatening diseases.

Our team also provides vital guidance to help your child adopt healthy behaviors that can help them succeed at school, in social settings, and in every aspect of their lives — now and during the adult years, too.

Scheduling a sick visit

There’s a saying, “Better safe than sorry.” It sounds a bit glib when you’re talking about your child’s health, but the sentiment is still true: If you’re not sure if your child needs a sick visit, it’s still a good idea to call our office. 

Our team reviews your child’s symptoms to let you know if a sick visit is advisable or if it’s OK to treat your child at home and keep track of any changes in their symptoms. To learn more about sick visits or find out if an appointment is warranted, request an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Jung and the team at Sunny Hill Pediatrics today.