Feb 19, 2018

Dr. Gellner: It happens a lot. You have your child scheduled for a well-child visit and they get sick. Many parents think this means shots are a no-go during that check-up. Is this true, or an old wives' tale? I'll straighten that up for you on today's Scope. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner.

Announcer: Remember that one thing that one person told you that one time about what you should or shouldn't do when raising your kids? Find out if it's true or not. This is Debunking Old Wives' Tales with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: This is a situation that I and other providers encounter on a daily basis. We know kids get sick a lot, and they never time their illnesses so that they are healthy when they're coming in for well visits and wait until afterwards to get sick.

We'll go in to see a patient for a well-child visit, and they are anything but well. They're coughing or sneezing all over the place, or the parents tell you they've spent the past few days cleaning up vomit and diarrhea. The first thing is, depending on how sick the child is, the visit may need to be changed from a well-child visit to an acute sickness visit.

It's sometimes better if a child is really ill, or has a fever over a 101, to take care of their illness first, and then reschedule the well-child visit for the following week. We often use that rescheduled well visit to follow up and make sure your child is better.

But what if the child is only mildly sick? They may just have a little runny nose or a cough or mild diarrhea. If this is the case, and they are otherwise fever-free, there's no reason to postpone their vaccines. Even if they have an ear infection, it's still okay to give the vaccines. Being on antibiotics will not affect the immune system's response to vaccines.

A child's immune system is able to respond to more than you think, so they can handle getting vaccines to build immunity to diseases and be able to fight minor illnesses at the same time. If you're worried about vaccines being given while your child is sick, talk to your child's doctor, and they can help determine if it's a good idea or not, to wait and reschedule.

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