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Question

Is it really that important to see my pediatrician right now?

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

Answer

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

​Yes! 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 noticed a large drop in patient checkups during 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

During the pandemic, making sure your child stays up-to-date on their immunizations is more important than ever. Your child should get a flu shot if they haven't already to prevent the spread of influenza​ on top of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's as important as wearing a cloth face covering, washing hands, and staying 6 feet apart to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Staying caught-up on other childhood vaccinations is also vital to keep your child healthy and prevent new outbreaks of dangerous diseases.   

​In addition to recommended immunizations, don't forget about these other reasons why your child should visit the pediatrician's office:

  • To check on developmental milestones.

  • To treat infections or injuries.​​

​​ ​

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 serves as the medical editor of HealthyChildren.org and provides oversight and direction for the site in conjunction with the staff editor. Dr. Shu is a practicing pediatrician at Children's Medical Group in Atlanta, Georgia, and she is also a mom. She earned her medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia in ​Richmond and specialized in pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Her experience includes working in private practice, as well as working in an academic medical center. She served as director of the normal newborn nursery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. Dr. Shu is also co-author of Food Fights and Heading Home with Your Newborn published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Last Updated
1/26/2021
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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