Truth be told, paediatricians are expensive. When my daughter was born I was given the impression that anytime baby gets sick she must see a paed. For a good 2 years that’s what we did. Our medical savings couldn’t cut it, it was so expensive, we had to fork out the money from our pocket. We are talking a good thousand rand for every visit.
Anyway let’s not dwell on money spent, this year we made the decision to start seeing a GP as the first point of call. My sister Ida told me that she had been doing that and my oh my did I feel so stupid for our expensive two year exercise.
My daughter started preschool earlier this year and was ‘sick’ every single week for three months. At this point we were still starting off at the paed. Don’t get me wrong there was value in all the visits but 80% of our visits could have been handled by a GP who would refer baby to a paed if necessary.
We found out once that she had an ear infection but a lot of the times it was just a cold or flu virus that was doing the rounds at school.
Here are some that will save you a lot of money:
- Start at the GP before consulting your paediatrician. Choose a GP you trust, one who is child friendly and doesn’t write out antibiotic scripts willy nilly. I really like Dr Essey, based in Fourways. He engages well with kids and is very thorough. I can’t stand doctors who speed through consultations and use medical jargon and expect you to understand what they are saying. He helped us discover that my daughter had allergies without having to consult the paed. This was at our first visit with him.
- Boost your child’s immune system naturally. I buy the freshly squeezed juice from PNP or Woolies. Might as well pump up the vitamin C during the juice requests. Our paed said vitamins from pharmacies are not really proven to be effective but I use the Nutrilite multivitamin for my daughter during the school term for my own peace of mind.I will be honest, I agree with my paed that vitamins seem to have a placebo effect rather than actually doing so much as they claim. I believe in most of your vitamins coming from actual food and veg, but that’s me.
- After taking your baby to the doc millions of times you learn to do a home diagnosis before seeking medical help. I am not promoting Dr Google and your own parenting expertise as the be all end all but rather as a starting point. Kids have immune systems and a sneeze or a cough shouldn’t have you in a mad rush to the emergency room. These are important questions to ask – Has the appetite changed dramatically? Is your child lacking a lot of energy and unable to play and be active as usual? Is there continuous vomit or a continuous runny stool? Is the baby’s temperature 38°C or higher for more than 24 hours? If the answer is no to all of the above you can wait it out, monitor your child and possibly go to a pharmacy to treat the symptoms.
- Trust your gut at all times but don’t replace it with medical expertise. As a parent you know your child and with time you will decide what you are comfy with.
- If you can help it, delay taking your child to preschool until two years of age. That was a recommendation we got from our paed. She said unless we wanted to visit her weekly for months, we should wait till two. And even then your child will naturally get sick often whilst adjusting to being around so many kids. This shall pass.
I hope this helps. Please share your advice and natural remedies that you use with your child help you save on medical expenses.
Disclaimer: This article is based on a mother’s own experience and may or may not work for you.