Child Injuries

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What You Can Do If Your Child is Sick

There you stand with your feverish child squirming in your arms, racking your brain for the important information you meant to pass along to the pediatrician. The doctor taps her foot impatiently, mentions how busy this flu season has been and points to the crowded waiting room. You decide to telephone later and escape so yet another ill child can have your examining room.  Parents often become intimidated by their pediatrician’s hectic schedule or so preoccupied with caring for their children that they can’t remember all the questions they meant to ask. For their part, physicians become fatigued and preoccupied when continually confronted by dozens of sick kids and weary, worried parents.

Here are some suggestions if your child is sick:

  • Parents should bring a list of symptoms and questions with them to the doctor’s office.
  • Before you leave the pediatrician’s office, make certain you understand exactly what ails your child. Is it a viral or bacterial infection? What symptoms indicate it’s under control? What symptoms mean it’s growing worse?  What medicines are being prescribed? Have the doctor read the prescription to you and write down the medicine’s name, how it should be consumed, dosage, with or without food, allergic reactions to look for. Make sure the drug you pick up at the pharmacy matches what you’ve written down.
  • If a substitute physician examines your child, which often happens during the flu and cold season, quiz him or her to be certain that your child’s chart has been thoroughly reviewed.
  • Because San Diego has become a cultural melting pot, children are exposed to a wide variety of bacteria and viruses. You need to share information with your physician if your child has been exposed to other children who may not be vaccinated or may carry an unusual strain of bacteria not often seen in this country.
  • Physicians need accurate information upon which to base their diagnoses. In turn, you need to know what information doctors consider important.
  • Read up on or check the Internet for childhood illnesses so you can spot danger signs. For instance, FUOs (fevers of unknown origin) are always important to discuss. Dehydration occurs very quickly in children and infants. Infants under 3 months old should receive immediate medical attention.
  • Physicians usually respond well to statements like: “I don’t know what it is, but I just know something is seriously wrong with my child.” If a physician brushes off a statement like that, find a new doctor. Most doctors revere the maternal and paternal instincts. They realize parents know their children best and can communicate information that children, especially young children, just can’t verbalize.

You should be able to confide any fear to your pediatrician without threat of ridicule. Feel free to ask any question you want — even if it may seem silly or unimportant. It could spark a worthwhile discussion.