New Guidelines For Staying Healthy During A Trip To The Doctor

By Dr. Dave Hnida

(CBS4)A trip to the pediatrician’s office can be like a journey to germ-land.

So it makes sense that some simple precautions take place when you take your child to the doctor’s office, whether it be for a sick visit or a well-exam.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released an updated set of guidelines for staying healthy during a trip to the pediatrician. The last set was issued in 2007.

Most of the recommendations seem simple enough, and simply common sense. Yet, you’d be surprised how often things may be done a little differently in a place that can a germ factory.

It’s important to understand that many of the guidelines are directed at us: the doctors and staff. We need to up to date with our immunizations and practice good hygiene. The office needs to be properly disinfected frequently.

(credit: CBS)

But how about you? What should you be doing when you bring your child in for a checkup and exam?

First, bring your own toys. Meaning no shared toys! You have no idea what bugs are on toys and books that dozens of little hands have touched.

Wash, wash, and wash everyone’s hands frequently and make friends with that hand sanitizer.

If you bring a child to the office in a stroller, leave him or her in the stroller until back in the exam room.

Make sure you see anyone who cares for your child clean their hands. If you don’t, ask.

When making an appointment, let the staff know if your child has symptoms that might spell contagiousness: such as fever, sore throat, rash. Those kids should be brought back immediately or through a separate entrance.

Interestingly, the concept of a separate area for a sick kid and a well kid really doesn’t seem to hold much water, and not make that big a difference, even though it seems that it would.

Finally, if you’re sick— have someone else bring your child if possible. Otherwise wear a mask and bathe in that hand sanitizer during your time in the office. 

LINK: Infection Prevention and Control in Pediatric Ambulatory Settings

Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4’s Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida 

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