Tags: Cold/Flu | cold | flu | doc | office

Cold, Flu Season: When to Avoid the Doc's Office

Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 05:34 PM

Taking a sick kid to the pediatrician’s office can sometimes do more harm than good, writes Melinda Moyer at Slate.com.

A parent’s instinct is to take the child to the doctor at the first sign of illness, but there are times when staying home is actually safer.

Most of the time, mild illnesses don’t require a doctor’s visit or treatment. But taking your child to the doctor may expose your family to germs. A study published in March found that family members were 50 percent more likely to be seen by a doctor for an influenza-like illness if they had been to a well-child visit at a pediatrician’s office in the prior two weeks compared with if they had not.

A doctor visit also increases the chance that your kid will get tests or treatments she doesn’t really need.

So when should you go? If your child has a fever lasts longer than three days—that’s a sign that something else is going on. And babies under the age of 3 months with fevers should always be taken to the doctor or ER immediately, as the fever could be a sign of a serious bacterial infection. If you child also has trouble breathing, a doctor visit is important.

But if your kid has had a regular old cold for a few days, you probably don’t need to worry or take him to the doctor, Moyer writes.

“But if your kid suddenly has trouble breathing, take him to the pediatrician or emergency room ASAP,” Moyer says. “Troubled breathing can manifest itself as breathlessness or rapid breathing; you may notice your child’s chest wall moving abnormally or see her ribs digging in with each breath. Babies may have trouble breast-feeding or keeping bottles in their mouths.”

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Taking a sick child to the pediatrician's office can sometimes do more harm than good.
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Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 05:34 PM
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