Helping Kids Who Are Afraid to Visit the Doctor

Dr. Kevin Buckwalter practices as a physician in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area. In addition to offering health services to adults, Dr. Kevin Buckwalter also provides pediatric care, or health care for children.

It is very important that children see a doctor regularly for preventive care and regular checkups, as well as to address any sicknesses or health problems that may arise. However, getting a child to cooperate when it’s time for a doctor’s visit can be a challenge, particularly if the child is afraid of the doctor or sees going to the doctor as a negative experience. Fortunately, there are a number of things parents can do to make taking their children to the doctor more pleasant.

First of all, a parent should help the child know what to expect. For example, the parent might talk with the child and tell him or her what might happen during the visit. This can include discussing which tools the doctor will use, such as the stethoscope and tongue depressor, and how the doctor will use them. The parent should then answer the child’s questions and correct any misconceptions the child might have. In some cases, it might help a younger child to tag along on an older sibling’s visit to the doctor. Finally, the parent should convey the experience of going to the doctor in a positive light by explaining that the purpose of going to the doctor is to stay well and healthy. This way, the child will be less likely to view visits to the doctor as negative or scary events.

Signs of Appendicitis in Children

Dr. Kevin Buckwalter practices family medicine in Henderson, Nevada, where he regularly sees patients with common childhood illnesses. Dr. Kevin Buckwalter also has built extensive experience treating patients in a hospital setting.

Stomach aches are one of the most common everyday symptoms in children, and parents can find it difficult to tell when the pain signals something more serious than gas or constipation. Appendicitis stands out as a more serious cause of stomach pain, particularly as its symptoms can be vague in children. Adults typically present with a classic symptomatology that includes lower-right quadrant pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. However, physicians have found that these symptoms do not necessarily indicate appendicitis in children.

In conducting an in-depth study of pediatric appendicitis, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that a more reliable predictor is rebound tenderness in the lower-right abdomen. If a child has appendicitis, applying pressure to the lower belly and subsequently letting go will more than likely worsen the pain. In addition, appendicitis pain in children typically begins around the navel and travels to the lower right. Physicians recommend that parents in doubt seek medical attention.