Your child will visit the pediatrician various times over the years for his or her recommended well child visits. While these visits focus on growth and development, there will almost certainly be times that your child will need to visit a pediatrician for an illness or other health concerns.

Your child’s common illnesses can often be managed at home and will not require a trip to the pediatrician’s office. However, for the times that they do, it is important to know the signs and the appropriate course of action. Depending on the nature of your child’s illness, you may need to decide if a trip to the pediatrician’s office or Emergency Department is best.

If your child is experiencing life threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, severe bleeding, severe injury or severe pain, call 911 immediately.

When to Schedule an Appointment

When your child isn’t feeling well and it isn’t something that can be best managed through rest and staying home, you should schedule an appointment with his or her pediatrician.

We recommend calling a pediatrician for an appointment when your child has:

  • A fever (temperature of 99 or above) lasting for three or more days 
  • Possible infections, such as strep throat, pinkeye or an ear infection
  • An injury resulting in bleeding or bruises (Depending on severity your child may need to go the ED)
  • Allergic reactions with mild symptoms (Depending on severity your child may need to go to the ED)
  • Prolonged illness that is not improving

If you are unsure if an appointment is necessary, please call your physician’s office. At NorthShore, our pediatric offices offer same-day and walk-in appointments.

When to Visit

A pediatric patient gets her vitals checked at one of our medical offices.

In the event that a follow-up appointment is necessary, it will be scheduled as instructed by your child’s physician.

When to Go to the Emergency Department

When your child is in need of more immediate care, you should plan to take him or her to the Emergency Department (ED) at one of our four hospitals. Through our electronic medical records, your child’s pediatrician will be able to see and communicate on your child’s status in any NorthShore ED.

In general, it is recommended to bring your child to the ED for any of the following reasons:

  • Not drinking, no urination for 8 hours
  • Experiencing severe abdominal pain
  • Showing concussion symptoms, such as being dizzy, nauseous or vomiting
  • Broken bone
  • Laceration on the face
  • Deep laceration
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Breathing difficulty

Please note that this is not a complete list and that every child is different. Trust your judgment. If you expect your child needs prompt care, do not hesitate to bring him or her to the Emergency Department.

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