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Is it Safe to Visit the Pediatrician?

Posted on May 04, 2020

Many parents are concerned about bringing their kids into the pediatrician’s office or even to the Emergency Center. With the safer-at-home orders, parents are also unsure if they are allowed to bring their children to doctor appointments. Rachel Dawkins, M.D., medical director of the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Clinic at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, answers important questions on the minds of parents. 

Let’s talk about well visits or preventative care visits.

Pediatric offices across the country are continuing to see children for routine wellness visits. It’s important to make sure kids, especially infants and toddlers, are growing and developing normally. It’s important to make sure babies are staying up to date with their vaccines. We don’t want to see an outbreak of whooping cough or measles during this pandemic.  

What if a child is sick with a fever or a runny nose? 

We are seeing almost all kids with fever via telemedicine. Through the webcam we can see if a child looks severely ill and needs to come to the Emergency Center or just needs supportive care at home. Pediatricians can also give good advice about how to help your child feel better and warning signs to look for.  

What if my child has other issues, but I am not comfortable coming in? 

We are offering telemedicine appointments for all of our sick visits. We can discuss behavioral concerns, look at simple rashes and do follow-ups for stable problems like asthma or AD/HD. Sometimes, however, we will need to see your child in person. We are taking every precaution to make sure you and your family are safe in our clinics, including having all people over 2 years old (both visitors and staff) wearing masks at all times.  

When school begins again and my child needs a back-to-school physical or a sports physical, can this be done via telemedicine? 

No. Back-to-school physicals and sports physicals must be done in person. Children and teens need a complete head-to-toe physical exam at least once a year in order to be cleared to play sports. We need to see them in person to sign off on their school forms. 

What can a parent do if they are unsure if they can be seen via telemedicine or need to come to the office? 

Telemedicine is new to us all. If you are unsure, just call your pediatrician’s office and we can help decide the best and safest way for your child to be seen.

For more information on office visits and telemedicine at Johns Hopkins All Children's, take a look at the infographic below:

The infographic reviews some aspects of the differences between office visits and telemedicine appointments.

On Call for All Kids is a weekly series featuring Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital medical experts. Visit  each Monday for the latest report. You also can explore  more advice  from Rachel Dawkins, M.D. 

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