What does a well visit include? Well visits should be made at the recommended ages of 1-2 weeks old, 2 months old, 4 months old, 6 months old, 9 months old, 12 months old, 15 months old, 18 months old, 2 years old, 3 years old, 4 years old, and then at least every 2 years after that. Some sports physicals are only valid for a year, and so a new well visit needs to be done at that time. Well visits are only done at certain times each day, and so they cannot be booked for the same day. We recommend calling at least one month in advance to schedule your child's well visit, other than the specific situation of a newborn well visit (ie, the 1-2 week old visit). The purpose of a well visit is to monitor the child's growth patterns and screen for any physical exam findings, vital signs, lifestyle issues, or other information that may indicate developing health issues. Immunizations are reviewed to make sure they are up to date, and if necessary screening labwork or radiologic studies are performed. Minor issues may be addressed at a well visit, but issues that require greater discussion require a separate visit. If the apparently secondary issue is of greater acuity than the well visit, it may be the well visit that the family is asked to reschedule.
If your child has symptoms that you are concerned about that have been going on for fewer than two weeks, and addressing those symptoms is the main purpose for the visit, the visit is a sick visit. If you call in the morning, we will make every effort to try to get your child in for a sick visit that same day. We cannot book sick visits for any other day than the day that you call. While we strive to try to alleviate whatever discomfort your child is having, the main goal is to address the cause of the symptoms and treat that underlying cause. For example, a child may come in with fever, runny nose and congestion, and cough from a viral upper respiratory infection, and while treating her fever and cold symptoms may help her to feel better, doing so will not actually help her get better. In this particular example, since the cause of her symptoms is viral, only time and her own immune system will actually clear the infection, and sometimes treating the symptoms may actually increase the likelihood of developing complications.
If your child's symptoms have been going on for more than two weeks, then the visit is considered a routine appointment. Routine appointments are not typically booked the same day; rather, they are only scheduled for certain slots on certain days so that we can devote the appropriate amount of time to discussing these more complicated issues.