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Should I Schedule a Sick Visit Even If My Child Doesn't Have a Fever?

Should I Schedule a Sick Visit Even If My Child Doesn't Have a Fever?

It feels like an unfortunate coincidence: Not long after children return to school in the fall, the cold and flu season gets underway. As any parent knows, this “perfect storm” circumstance — combined with kids’ developing immune systems — often translates to recurrent infection and illness spreading through the household all winter long.

As you might expect, our expert team at Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma facilitates a high volume of sick visits throughout the cold and flu season. While an elevated or persistent fever is one of parents’ most reported symptoms at this time of year, it’s important to know that not every child who’s in need of a sick visit is running a temperature.

Here, we take a closer look at when it’s a good idea to schedule a pediatric sick visit — even if your child doesn’t have the “telltale” fever that so often accompanies acute illness.

When your child isn’t feeling well 

Often cited as the telltale sign of acute infection and illness, fever is one of the most frequently reported symptoms at pediatric sick visits. Indeed, running a higher temperature is the body’s go-to strategy for slowing the advance of disease-causing pathogens (i.e., bacteria, viruses) and helping the immune system produce infection-fighting antibodies faster.

While a fever is present at the onset of most infectious illnesses, it isn’t always high, and it doesn’t always persist. Sometimes, a child’s fever is missed when it’s present during sleep but absent in the morning. Symptoms of illness that we often see both in the presence — and absence — of a fever include: 

Even without a fever, any of these symptoms may warrant expert attention — especially if you’re concerned about your child’s health, want to know what kind of recovery timeline you should expect, or have questions about the best ways to provide relief in the meantime.

Expert care for worrisome symptoms

It can sometimes be hard to determine whether you should give us a call at the first sign of illness, or wait to see if your child’s symptoms get better — or worsen — on their own. Let’s take a closer look at when common symptoms should prompt a call or visit to our office:

Coughing

A cough is a routine symptom of many respiratory viral infections, from the common cold and RSV to influenza and COVID-19. While most coughs stick around for up to three weeks, give us a call if your child’s cough worsens after three to five days, isn’t noticeably improved within two weeks, or occurs along with any other symptoms, such as ear pain, chest pain, or wheezing.

Breathing concerns

Any breathing problems should prompt a call to our office, including fast respiration, noisy or raspy breathing, wheezing, and labored breathing from the chest. Depending on the severity of the breathing issue, we may schedule a same-day sick visit or send you to the emergency room right away.

Aches and pains

Give us a call as soon as possible any time your child complains of persistent aches and pains, including ear pain, headaches, a sore throat, body and muscle aches, and mild stomach pain. Always seek emergency care for severe headaches and abdominal pain.

Vomiting and diarrhea

Acute gastroenteritis (stomach flu) often causes bouts of vomiting along with diarrhea. Neither are usually concerning if they only happen a few times and your child can keep small amounts of fluid down. Give us a call when vomiting and/or diarrhea persists, or if your child can’t keep any fluids down and dehydration is a concern.

Eye concerns

Schedule a sick visit any time your child develops eye redness, itchiness, or discharge — especially if the discharge is thick, “glues” the eyelid shut, or doesn’t improve during the day.

We offer prompt pediatric sick visits

Just as it’s common for sick kids to have a fever, it’s equally possible for an acute illness to persist in the absence of a fever. The bottom line? When your child isn’t feeling well and you have questions or concerns, never hesitate to give us a call.

With at least three providers in the office each weekday, we can help you determine if a same-day sick visit is necessary — and if not, give you the expert advice you need to manage your child’s care more effectively at home.

Is your child feeling under the weather? We’re here to help. Call or click online to schedule a sick visit at Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma in Claremore, Oklahoma, today. 

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