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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?

​If you have put off doctor visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, now is a good time to visit your pediatrician and get caught up. Children and teens need regular checkups with their doctor to make sure their development is on track, to talk about nutrition and behavior, and to get the vaccines they need to stay healthy.

It's safe, necessary, and your pediatrician wants to see your child. Pediatricians have seen a huge drop in patient visits because of the pandemic. This means that many children are missing vaccinations, physical exams, screenings, and other needed care.

If your child is behind on care, please call your pediatrician! Pediatrician's offices are taking extra steps to protect against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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

Now that influenza and COVID-19 viruses are circulating, it's very important that you stay connected to your pediatrician and your medical home.

Your child should get a flu shot as soon as possible to prevent the spread of influenza. It's as important as wearing a cloth face covering, washing hands, and staying 6 feet apart to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Don't forget about these other reasons why your child should visit the pediatrician's office:

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What to do if your child gets sick

Sometimes it's hard to tell how sick your child is. Both influenza and COVID-19 are contagious and spreading this fall and winter. Both viruses have similar symptoms, too.

Your pediatrician is here to answer any questions you may have about your child's health. If you are concerned about your child's symptoms, just call.

To make visits safe, some offices have separated “sick" and “well" areas of their clinic or are having newborns come in early in the day before other patients. Phone ahead, so your pediatrician can advise you on the best way to come in.​​

​Video visits 

For other kinds of appointments, pediatricians may offer video visits. Call your pediatrician's office to find out if this is available and appropriate for the needs of your child or teen.

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 seeing your pediatrician or going to the ​clinic or hospital because of COVID-19. 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

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
9/30/2020
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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