Calling Your Child's Healthcare Provider
Before calling your child's healthcare provider, have the following information handy:
- First: Your child's approximate weight. Your healthcare provider may need it to calculate the dosage of medicines.
- Second: Your child's temperature, if the call relates to sickness.
- Third: The names and dosages of any medicines your child is taking.
- Fourth: Your pharmacy's phone number; that will really save time.
- Fifth: Have a pen and paper handy to take down instructions.
- Sixth: Have your child nearby. Sometimes we need to have you check something, such as whether or not the neck is stiff.
One error that some parents make is calling too early in the illness. A good example is calling 1 or 2 hours after a fever begins. Unfortunately, during the first 24 hours of an illness, a fever is often the only symptom of the infection. Therefore, the disease is not diagnosable.
By 24 hours out, however, your child will usually develop some associated symptoms. The presence of a cough, cold, diarrhea or rash will answer most of your original questions. As long as your child is eating, smiling, and playing off and on, you usually don't need to call your healthcare provider during the first 24 hours of an illness.
On the other hand, if you have any doubt as to whether or not your child's problem is urgent, by all means, call.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages