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TELEMEDICINE: HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF IT AND AVOID COMPLICATIONS

By Dr. Bang

The ideal situation is to examine children in the office when they are sick, but until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, telemedicine is a great alternative to allow us to keep our kids healthy and recognize when they are truly sick, perhaps even needing immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, with the risk of spreading COVID-19 virus, even when children are without symptoms, in office examinations aren’t always possible.

To make the most of the telemedicine visit with your pediatrician, be sure to have certain information ready before calling the office.  To ensure getting the most out of your telemedicine appointment please have your child’s weight and temperature recorded, as well as, child’s heart rate or pulse and respiratory rate if possible. Also, have a list of your child’s medications and write down all symptoms and how long they have been experiencing those symptoms. You could also write down how your child’s symptoms are affecting his daily activities including sleep and appetite.

Once you have gathered all necessary information for your child’s telehealth appointment, there are certain guidelines to remember. When you are describing your child’s symptoms to your pediatrician don’t use medical terminology like lethargic or dehydrated, just explain in ordinary words and simple sentences how your child is feeling. Also, avoid saying you can’t control your child’s fever, if what you really mean is that it goes back up once the fever reducing medication has worn off. Parents should not ask for or expect a prescription, especially for an antibiotic, just because you are using telemedicine. Lastly avoid sitting in a dark or noisy room when speaking with your child’s provider. This can make it difficult to accurately hear your child’s symptoms therefore making treatment difficult.