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Is it OK to call my pediatrician during COVID-19?

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

Answer

Is it OK to see my pediatrician during COVID-19?

​Yes, please call your pediatrician! Pediatrician's offices are open and taking extra steps to make sure you and your children are safe when you come in.

Now more than ever, it's very important that you stay connected to your pediatrician and your medical home. Your pediatrician cares about the health of your baby, child or teen and is happy to talk to you about anything from medicines and illnesses to injuries and behavior issues.

Why it's so important to call your pedi​atrician

Even though families are staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there are still important reasons why you may need to bring your child into the office, including:

  • Newborn visits after a baby is born.

  • To stay up-to-date on immunizations.

  • For hearing and vision screenings.

  • To monitor growth, blood pressure, and other vital signs.

  • To check labs such as for anemia.

  • To check on developmental milestones.

  • To treat infections or injuries.

  • For adolescent health concerns, such as menstrual care and depression screening.

  • For routine lead testing. ​

Pediatricians are taking steps to make sure it’s as safe as possible for office visits that need to happen in person. Some offices have separated “sick” and “well” areas of their clinic or are having newborns come in early in the day before other patients. Calling ahead is important so your pediatrician can advise you on the best way to come in.


Video visits

For other kinds of appointments, many pediatricians are now offering video visits. Call your pediatrician's office to see if this is available for your child or teen.

What to do if your child gets sick

​If your child has been exposed to COVID-19, or you are concerned about your child's symptoms, call your pediatrician immediately. ​


Sometimes it's hard to tell how sick your child is. Luckily, a trip to the hospital is usually not needed for a simple cold or cough, mild diarrhea, constipation, temper tantrums, or sleep problems. Call your pediatrician for any concerns you may have about your child's health.​

Emergencies

If you feel you need to call 911, trust your instincts and call. Otherwise, it's generally a good idea to check in with your pediatrician first. Sometimes they can help over the phone or will help coordinate other kinds of care for your child without going to the hospital.

Most of all, do not avoid calling your pediatrician or worry that a trip to the clinic or hospital will put you or your child at higher risk for COVID-19. Doctor's offices and emergency departments are still seeing and treating patients and are following all recommended steps to keep patients and families safe.

See the article, When to Call Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for more information about what to do in an emergency.

We are here for you

We know parents are really scared. But pediatricians are still here, ready to help you care for your child. If your child is sick or injured, or struggling emotionally, pick up the phone and call your pediatrician. We are working hard to make sure we can care for your child, while still keeping everyone safe.

Additional Information:​

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

​Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, is a practicing pediatrician, author, and mom in Atlanta. Dr. Shu is co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn and Food Fights. A frequent guest on national and local television, radio, and web-based programs, she is serves as medical editor for HealthyChildren.org, is the Living Well health expert for CNN.com, contributes medical information to BabyCenter and WebMD.com, and serves on the Parents magazine advisory board. ​

Last Updated
5/30/2020
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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