10 Questions Parents Must Ask Their Child's Paediatrician

When your child is sick, you may have millions of queries for your doctor, but you may overlook or forget them. Here are ten questions you must ask to understand your child's health better.

By Aarthi Arun

10 Questions Parents Must Ask Their Child's Paediatrician

With their immunity still developing, children may seem to be sick every other day. Your child's incessant running nose, occasional fever and diarrhoea can take a toll on you. You may want to raise many questions about your child's illness with her paediatrician, but when you visit the clinic, you may not get the time to ask all of them during the short session with the doctor. Many parents also feel hesitant about making too many queries. However, it is important to clarify your doubts to feel reassured. Making a list of questions beforehand can come in handy during your appointment. It will also make the paediatrician's life easier. 

Here are ten questions you should ask, which will help your child get appropriate care:   

Q1. How should I keep my child comfortable when he has a high temperature?

There is nothing that shoots up your blood pressure like your child's rising body temperature. But, a high fever is usually not a cause for concern unless your child is an infant or has other worrying symptoms. So, instead of obsessively checking the thermometer, ask your doctor for suggestions to keep your child comfortable, like dressing him lightly or giving a warm water bath to reduce his temperature.

Q2. What are the treatment options for my child's illness?

Whether it is a common cold or some serious infection, the treatment options can be many. Don't shy away from asking questions and offering suggestions – you know your child best. Are antibiotics necessary? My child is allergic to so-and-so drug, will the treatment be suitable? My child was very uncomfortable when taking the same medicine last time, are there any alternatives? It will make your paediatrician's decision-making easier if you work as a team, and choose a treatment that is apt for your child and your family.

Q3. Does the treatment have any side effects?

From rashes to diarrhoea, your child's medicines may come with unpleasant side effects. By knowing them beforehand, you will be better equipped to handle them effectively. It will also save you from disturbing your doctor with an unnecessary late-night call.

Q4. Should I bring my child back once we finish the given dosage?

Many of us don't bother to take the child back to the doctor, once the initial dosage of medicines gets over. Sometimes, you may also abruptly stop the medicine once your child feels well. But, it is always better to treat an illness or infection thoroughly so that there will not be any relapse. Finishing a full course of medication will help your child build immunity against the illness. 

Q5. Can I use home remedies?

There is nothing wrong with treating simple ailments like a cough or a headache with grandma's remedies but, it is extremely important to note that not all natural remedies are safe. Some home remedies may also interfere with the medicines that your child is taking. Children are especially sensitive, and any medications for them are better left to the experts to handle. Your best bet is to check with your doctor first before trying anything on your own.

Q6. According to the Internet, the symptoms point to a particular disease. Should I be worried?

We all are great fans of Dr Google, although he often puts us on edge by misdiagnosing common cold as cancer. But, the good news is that you don't have to hide it from your doctor, who is probably aware of your Sherlock Holmes-like investigation skills. Feel free to discuss your concerns with your paediatrician. Remember, only a trained doctor with a vast, real-life experience can properly identify your child's symptoms and give you the right diagnosis.

Q7. I don't understand. Can you explain it in more detail?

Many times, the doctor's talk is too difficult for parents to follow. But there is nothing to be ashamed of, if you don't understand the medical jargon or complex explanations. Ask your doctor for simple explanations to better understand your child's condition – your doctor will be glad if you're on the same page.

Q8. What about my child's diet during the treatment?

For certain illnesses, your child may need to restrict her diet. Also, things like gluten and lactose can aggravate some conditions. So, don't overlook your child's diet. Ensure to have a word with your child's paediatrician on diet suggestions.

Q9. Do we need a second/expert opinion?

If you find that your child is not getting any better or feel that the illness calls for an expert opinion, do share your concerns with your doctor. She can recommend a specialist based on your child's symptoms.

Q10. Are there any new vaccines that my child may require?

With new diseases showing up every now and then, it is only wise to keep up with the latest developments in vaccinations. Don't forget to ask your paediatrician about any new or seasonal vaccinations for your child.

Other questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Can my child go to school or should she stay home?
  • How soon will my child improve?
  • What if we miss a dose?
  • Is my child's weight and height on track?
  • What can I expect in the next stage of my child's growth?
  • How to keep my child safe in the summer/monsoon season?
  • My child seems to be tired all the time. How can I help his energy levels?
  • How can I make sure that my picky eater is getting all the nutrients?
  • Is bedwetting normal in my primary school-aged child?
  • My child's teacher complains that my child is not attentive at school. How can I encourage him to be attentive?

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