When your child is sick, we are here to help. We offer same-day appointments to be sure that your child’s illness is addressed as quickly as possible. To schedule an appointment for your child, call (814) 266-8840 or request an appointment through the Patient Portal.
We also offer walk-in hours in the Richland location during week days from 5 pm – 8 pm, on Sundays from 10 am – 2 pm and on all holidays from 12 pm – 2 pm. During these times, you may just bring your sick child to the Richland office to be seen.
Below is some helpful information about common illnesses and injuries your child may experience. As always, if your child has had an emergency, call 911 or take your child to the emergency room immediately.
Ear pain is a symptom that often wakes children during the night. It can be accompanied by fever. You may give your child Tylenol or Motrin to help relieve fever or pain. A warm water bottle can be comforting if held against the painful ear. Be sure that the water bottle is not extremely hot, and make sure your child does not fall asleep with the water bottle left on the skin. This can cause serious burns. It is our policy to see your child the following morning if they are experiencing ear pain. However, in most cases, ear pain may improve after a few hours even without treatment.
Fever can be your friend. Fevers help our body to fight against viral and bacterial infections. However, it is very concerning if fever occurs in newborns or if the child is looking and acting extremely sick. If your child is less than 4 months of age and is experiencing a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, they should be seen. Please call the office for an appointment or go directly to the emergency room if it is after office hours.
If your child is older, you may try to decrease the fever with Tylenol or Motrin. You may also give them a tepid bath, but you should never sponge bath them with rubbing alcohol.
If your child continues to experience fever, other symptoms, or is acting sick, you may call in to speak to a nurse or schedule an appointment.
Coughing is a normal reflex to clear the air passages. Coughing is also an indication of a common cold, a bacterial infection, or a more serious disorder. Usual treatment for cough can include cool air humidification, eliminating smoke exposure, or using a cough suppressant at night. Pediatric Care Specialists only recommends Robitussin DM as a nighttime cough suppressant.
If your child is experiencing a barky cough that resembles the bark of a dog or seal, then he/she most likely has croup. Croup is a viral infection that causes swelling around the vocal cords. Since it is a virus, an antibiotic is not required. You may give your child a warm, steamy shower to help break up any congestion and ease breathing within 15-20 minutes. However, the croupy cough will still exist. You may give as many steamy showers as you need to during the day or night if it helps the symptoms to improve. If steamy showers do not work, you may bundle up your child and take them into the cool, night air. Inhaling the cool, moist air can help to loosen the air passages and allow your child to breathe more easily. A cool mist vaporizer can also be used in the child’s room over night.
Take your child to the emergency room or call 911 if the following should occur:
- Your child seems to be struggling to take in a good breath.
- Your child appears extremely anxious, frightened, or looks blue in the face or around the lips.
- Your child is drooling and cannot swallow.
- Your child cannot speak.
- Your child’s chest sinks in when he/she tries to inhale.
- Your child makes a whistling or crowing sound when inhaling.
Wheezing is a musical sound that is heard when your child inhales or exhales. This sound is caused by an obstruction of the regular flow of air to the lungs. It is important to know that wheezing is not only caused by asthma. You should take your child to the emergency room if he/she is experiencing difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing may be classified as struggling to take a good deep breath, flaring of the nostrils, a pinched-in look of the collarbone or ribs, not being able to speak, sitting up and leaning forward to breathe, grunting with each breath, or sitting quietly attempting to breathe.
If your child is asthmatic and is experiencing severe wheezing, take him/her to the emergency room if there is no improvement 15 minutes after fasting acting inhalers are administered. If you have any doubts or concerns, take your child to the emergency room to be evaluated.
A red or pink rash that is smooth, bumpy, and does not itch can be caused by many things. If the rash covers the entire body, it can be caused by a viral illness, a reaction to medications or vaccines, heat or sun exposure, or a fever higher than 103 degrees F. A rash that occurs in just one spot can be caused by acne, chemical irritants, or infections such as impetigo or ringworm.
Most rashes are very difficult to diagnose over the phone. It is best to bring your child in during regular business hours for an accurate diagnosis. You may make your child more comfortable until they are seen by giving them a cool bath every 3-4 hours as needed. Warm bath can cause rashes to become more irritating and itchy. Encourage your child not to scratch the rash to prevent it from getting worse or spreading. You can cut your child’s finger nails short to prevent from scratching. Try to dress your child in loose fitting clothes to aide in relief. Finally, you may use Benadryl to help relieve the itching. Be aware that Benadryl does cause drowsiness in most children. You should take your child to the emergency room if the rash becomes purple, bright red and tender to touch, has blood-colored spots, or occurs in combination with a fever over 104 degrees. If your child is experiencing hives with difficulty breathing, you also need to go directly to the ER. You may call the office during business hours if your child develops a mild fever, has a widespread rash for more than 48 hours, has a localized rash for more than one week, or a diaper rash that lasts more than three days.
Nasal congestion is a common symptom that usually accompanies a cold or flu. If you have a baby too young to blow their nose, you may use a nasal aspirator. If the mucus is thick and sticky, loosen it up by putting 2-3 drops of salt solution (½ tsp. of salt to 1 cup of warm water) into each nostril. Be careful not to aspirate the nose too often. The suctioning can cause sensitive nasal membranes to bleed or swell. This can cause breathing to be more difficult.
Children who are old enough to blow their noses certainly should when it runs. Drinking plenty of clear liquids can help to thin out mucus and help it to run more. Using a cool mist humidifier or placing your child in a warm, steamy bath or shower can help to relieve the congestion.
Call the office to speak to a nurse or make an appointment if the nasal congestion is accompanied by swelling of the face, eyes, forehead, nose or cheeks. If your child is also experiencing blurred vision, throat pain, white or yellow patches on the tonsils, coughing episodes, yellow-green or gray sputum production, or nasal congestion lasting more than two weeks, they should be seen in the office during regular hours.
- your child has blood or bile in the vomit. Bile is a green colored material from the intestinal tract.
- your child is also experiencing severe abdominal pain or a swollen, painful abdomen along with the vomiting.
- your child is lethargic, very irritable, or having convulsions.
- your child shows signs of dehydration including dry mouth, absent tears, or decreased urine output over the past 8 hours.