Q&A with Dr. Jay

Question: My 6 year old son has been complaining of his stomach hurting on and off for several weeks. When I touch his stomach area, he says it doesn’t hurt. When should I worry?

Dr. Jay: You should make an appointment with your pediatrician for a thorough examination. If the doctor cannot detect a problem based on a history and physical exam, keeping a diary may be suggested. The diary may show us some trends on what or why your son has stomach aches. I usually suggest that on the day that his stomach hurts, I want to know what he has had to eat and drink for the past 24 hours. I also would like to know their bowel pattern for that day. It would be important to note if it is occurring a certain part of the day or week. Abdominal pain in children is a very hard problem to ascertain and we ask for the parent to be patient. Diet, stress and irregular bowel habits are common problem-makers. If a diary cannot show us a pattern and the stomach ache is consistent, a consult with a pediatric gastroenterologist may be needed to rule out anatomical or digestive problems. If your child says their stomach or belly hurts and you cannot even press on it without them showing signs of pain, that is an emergency. Also, if they are in so much pain that they cannot walk or move, that is an emergency.

Question: How can children who are not vaccinated be allowed to attend school? I thought that it was required.

Dr. Jay: Dr. Jay: It is required for all children who attend a licensed daycare, pre-school or school to show proof of immunization unless they have a waiver form from the state of Florida. Pediatricians do not have this waiver form, parents usually obtain it from the local health department. The parents do not have to have a religious reason to obtain this form and it does not say you cannot change your mind and add certain vaccines at a later time. Many parents obtain this form who do vaccinate, but have chosen to do so at a delayed or limited schedule. If your child is not in a daycare or school and you have chosen not to immunize, it is highly recommended that you obtain this waiver form for your own personal records and your pediatrician should also have a copy.

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