Having a trusted primary care doctor near you is essential as you take care of your family. Children face a myriad of health challenges and risks that can be difficult to diagnose and treat without the help of a family doctor. When your child presents with pain, illness, or lingering symptoms, it can sometimes be hard to decide whether or not they require medical attention.
When determining whether to schedule a clinic visit, a set of guidelines can be immensely helpful. Consult this checklist to learn how best to proceed with the medical care of your child.
If It’s Urgent, Go to the Emergency Room
Certain symptoms can be cause for immediate concern, and in such cases, you should take your child to the nearest emergency room or urgent care facility immediately. If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention right away:
- Persistent, intense vomiting
- Labored breathing
- Eye tearing for more than 15 minutes, or eye trauma
- Cuts or gashes that may require stitches
- Head trauma
- Fever over 100.4 degrees for an infant, or over 105 degrees for a toddler and older
- Severe headache
- Refusal to eat or drink
- Signs of serious dehydration
These symptoms could be caused by a larger issue impacting your child’s health, and they should be dealt with urgently.
If It’s NOT Urgent, Schedule a Clinic Visit
If it is clear that your child is not in immediate danger of an urgent health issue, you may need to schedule a clinic visit and consult with your local family doctor instead. Call a physician and schedule an upcoming appointment in the event of:
1. Chronic Symptoms
Symptoms that periodically arise, fade away, then resurface days or weeks later could be the sign of a condition or ailment requiring treatment. Chronic issues such as joint pain or headaches are often associated with an underlying cause that can be assessed and treated by a family care provider.
2. Long-Lasting Symptoms
If a mild symptom, such as dull pain, fatigue, or fever persists for an extended period of time, it could indicate that the body is dealing with a chronic issue or is having trouble fighting an illness. Symptoms that persist for more than a few days should be treated by your primary care physician.
3. Mild Injuries
Injuries that result from sports, falls, or other activities and result in swelling or lasting pain could be cause for concern. Hairline fractures, sprains, and strains can become worse over time if they are not properly treated, so always schedule a clinic visit when faced with these minor injuries.
4. Persisting Pain
Pain is a bodily response that tells you not to use a certain extremity or signifies a complication or stressor. Pain that persists for hours or days is not natural or normal, and it should be addressed promptly by a primary care doctor near you.
5. Topical Ailments
Rashes, burns, and hives can occur due to a wide variety of factors. An allergic reaction, for example, requires different treatment than an abrasion. Before resorting to a topical ointment or cream, consult your family doctor regarding identification of the issue and next steps.
6. The Start of a New Sport Season
Many sports require physical exams for athletes to register. Even in sports devoid of this requirement, it is a prudent family practice to stay up-to-date on your child’s physicals when they are engaged in athletic activity. Your family doctor will be able to offer recommendations that could help your child remain healthy and strong throughout the season.
7. When You’re Not Sure
When in doubt, schedule a clinic visit. The longer you wait to address issues, the more damage they could potentially incur on your child’s health. If you have lingering uncertainties about an illness or injury, book an appointment to be sure.
8. At Least Once Per Year
Having healthy children is satisfying and reassuring. If your children have not required medical attention in the past year, schedule a clinic visit to ensure their health is on a positive trajectory. Physicals are recommended for patients of all ages on a yearly basis to help prevent issues from developing and identify any causes for concern in the early stages.
Promote Your Child’s Health with Richfield Medical Group
Working with a doctor who knows your family and can deliver customized, intentional health solutions will help keep your children safe and healthy for whatever life throws at them.
If you’re searching for a primary care provider in the Twin Cities, consider the doctors at Richfield Medical Group. We are a patient-first clinic, dedicated to meeting your family’s health care needs with effective and convenient treatments. Whether you need an annual checkup, a same-day appointment, or chronic symptom management, our team of providers are here for you. Schedule an appointment and meet our care team. At Richfield Medical Group, we deliver primary care for the whole family – in Minneapolis and beyond.