Between work and taking care of the house and kids, most parents lead busy lives. Add a sick kid to the mix and getting a doctor's appointment when it fits your schedule can be a challenge. But there are ways to get into the doctor to get your child some relief faster.
Angie Dammer worries her six-year-old son is suffering from influenza. She scheduled a doctor's appointment as soon as the clinic opened Wednesday morning.
"Gabriel woke up at 2:00 this morning and he had a temperature of 103," Angie said.
Gabriel is also dealing with body aches, a sore throat and a cough. But the doctor's visit isn't the only thing on Angie's to-do list.
"My husband is terminally ill with stage-four cancer. So my day is definitely consumed by his care, his medical needs, as well as taking care of my children and running the house," Angie said.
While the Dammer's situation is unique, Pediatrician Kara Bruning says she sees a lot of busy parents. She recommends calling the doctor's office early in the morning if you have a sick child instead of waiting until late in the afternoon when it's practically impossible to get in.
"This is five to seven days of high fevers and body aches; you're pretty much going to take the week off work," Avera Pediatrician Dr. Kara Bruning said.
If you can't schedule an appointment with your primary doctor, you can try urgent or acute care clinics at night on weekdays or also during the day on weekends. Some clinics also open at 7 a.m. and it is possible to call for an appointment even before a clinic opens to schedule a visit that fits your schedule. Bruning says it can also help to know when a doctor's visit is needed.
"If you have a baby that's under two-months of age with a fever, call us right away. You get to call us in the middle of the night or go to the ER or urgent care. That child needs to be seen right away," Bruning said.
If your child is older, Bruning recommends trying Tylenol or Motrin first to see whether the fever drops. Also watch for dehydration and whether your child is struggling to breathe. Of course you can avoid the hassle all together by taking steps to not get sick.
"Hand washing, that kind of stuff. Try to teach your kids to not cough into their hands. Cough into your sleeve. Those kinds of things will help," Bruning said.
A flu shot also helps, which Gabriel did receive. Unfortunately, it's not 100 percent effective, which is why Angie wants to make sure Gabriel gets better and her daughter and husband don't catch the virus.
"It's very concerning, especially with all the influenza going around," Dammer said.
Dr. Bruning says the best way to make sure other children in your house don't get sick is to keep the sick child away from other children as much as possible. Also make sure they don't share glasses or toys.
Influenza Symptoms (CDC):