SICK CHILD CARE
When children need medical attention for an illness or injury, parents can count on sick visits with Drs. McDonald and McDonald at Beach Kids Pediatric Care.
WHEN TO SCHEDULE A SICK VISIT
When children are sick, they need to visit their pediatrician to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. But there are varying degrees of illness, and sometimes it’s not that easy to decide whether your child needs the attention of a doctor or can rest at home.
If you’re in doubt, call Beach Kids Pediatric Care. Their professional and friendly team knows which questions to ask, which symptoms require same-day or immediate attention, and when it’s safe to wait a day or two to let an illness run its course.
An acute illness is caused by exposure to a germ (virus or bacteria) that begins to produce symptoms and usually ends in a short amount of time. Fortunately, most acute illnesses are mild and will resolve without much need for medical intervention. Some examples of acute illnesses in childhood include:
Cold virus/upper respiratory infection
Urinary tract infection
Stomach flu or gastroenteritis which may include vomiting and diarrhea
Children are exposed and are prone to many illnesses. Common childhood illnesses, such as the cold or flu virus, help to prepare the immune system to be strong and healthy in adulthood.
SYMPTOMS OF ACUTE ILLNESS
The symptoms of acute illnesses will vary depending on the type of virus that your child has contracted. Respiratory infections are common in babies and children. The early symptoms of acute respiratory infections usually appear in the nose, bronchi or upper lungs and may include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Decreased appetite
Commonly, the symptoms will progress or worsen before the illness has run its course. Your child may develop:
- Fever of 101.5 or higher
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Become lethargic
If you have any concerns about your child’s illness, please schedule an appointment so we can evaluate your child and offer treatment if necessary.
DIAGNOSING YOUR CHILD
If your child is ill, running a fever or has a sore throat, we encourage you to make a sick visit appointment so we can evaluate your child. More often, children will have a viral illness that does not require medication for treatment. However, there are some tests we may run that can help us diagnose and treat your child more effectively, including:
- Strep test
- Flu test
We will also listen to your child’s lungs to assess breath sounds and make sure your child is not in any respiratory distress.
The treatment for strep throat is a course of antibiotics. Although there is no treatment for viral illness, we can offer you some tips to help your child feel better. We encourage sick little ones to:
- Stay hydrated
- Sleep with a cool mist vaporizer
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen (after 6 months) if necessary
- Get plenty of rest
Occasionally, viral infections can result in a secondary infection such as bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections. If this does occur, we will prescribe the appropriate treatment for the secondary infection as well.
TIPS TO STAY HEALTHY
Babies and children tend to put their hands and toys in their mouth. This is a normal form of exploration and learning for children, but it’s also a way that germs are spread within communities. Some of the best illness prevention tips are simply a function of good hygiene, and include:
- Washing hands often with soap and warm water
- Do not share personal items with another child
- Keeping baby toys and pacifiers clean
- Keep children at home if they have a fever of 100.5 or higher to help prevent the spread of illness
- Flu shot recommended for children 6 months and older
Children who are in school or daycare have an increased risk of contracting and spreading illness due to being around other children for extended amounts of time. Your child may return to school and/or daycare when they are fever free or symptom free (in cases of gastrointestinal viruses) for 24 hours.
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