Should You Take Your Child to the Doctor During COVID-19?



Guidelines to help your family decide whether medical care is appropriate or needed.


Dr. Unjali ​Malhotra, FNHA Women's Health Director; Dr. Kelsey Louie, FNHA Medical Officer; and Denise Lacerte, FNHA Senior Specialist, Healthy Children and Youth

With COVID-19 ongoing, those of us who are parents want to protect our kids even more than usual! While the early learnings of COVID-19 indicate that children may be less likely to suffer from it, we always want to keep them well and thriving.

It can be hard to know if you should take your child into a hospital or clinic at this time. Here is some information we hope will help you make your decision:


Please keep up with immunizations (routine immunizations are still a vital part of a child's wellness). We encourage you to call your local health centre, health care provider, or local public health office. You can call 811 (not 911) if your health centre or nursing station is closed.

Non-emergency care and clinics:

Primary care clinics and services are also still open for business. If your local clinic is not available, or if you are without a home clinic, the FNHA has a program that enables you to visit with your doctor over the phone or on a laptop/tablet/cell phone: the First Nations Virtual ​Doctor of the Day program​. You can call 1-855-344-3800 and a family doctor will connect with you to address your concerns, including writing prescriptions or ordering further tests!

Emergencies not related to COVID:

An emergency is an emergency, even in the middle of a pandemic. You are still encouraged to attend your local Emergency Department or to call 911 if necessary. It is understandable if you are worried about your risk of infection, or are concerned about putting extra stress on health care staff at this time. But be assured that hospitals have taken steps to keep you and your family safe and the BC health care system has capacity to support you.

Kids will still be kids – they may break bones, get cuts, or have allergic reactions during a pandemic, so please seek emergency care if needed.

Worried that your child has COVID-19?

Children's symptoms can be a little different from adults' symptoms. According to the BC Children's Hospital, you should seek urgent care (call 911 or go to the ER) if your child:

 ​Is having difficulty breathing, e.g., wheezing, flaring nostrils, rib/chest expanding and contracting excessively.

 Has blue lips or skin, or appears very pale.

 Is coughing excessively, particularly with a fever.

 Is vomiting excessively, especially if there is blood in the vomit.

 Has diarrhea and vomiting, is not producing tears, and has not urinated for several hours.

 Has a high fever, appears very sleepy, and has not improved with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).

 Is under three months of age and has a fever of greater than 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees F).

​While many sicknesses can be managed well at home, if you are at all concerned, please do not hesitate to reach out or seek care if there are any health concerns with your child.

Keeping children healthy and safe is a top priority—because our children are loved, and because they are our future!

Links to other resources:

What I need to know if my child has a suppressed immune system

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