What is possible appendicitis?

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Possible appendicitis in children: Overview

Your doctor thinks your child may have appendicitis. This means that your child's appendix may be infected. The appendix is a small sac that is shaped like a finger. It's attached to the large intestine.

Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone has appendicitis. If the doctor thinks it's possible that your child has it, more tests may be ordered. Or your doctor may want to wait to see if the symptoms change.

Your doctor thinks it's okay for you to take your child home right now. But you will need to watch for symptoms of appendicitis at home. If your child's symptoms continue or get worse, it's important to call your doctor or get medical care right away. Appendicitis can get serious very quickly. The main treatment is surgery to remove the appendix.

How can you care for yourself when you might have appendicitis?

  • Do not eat or drink anything, unless your doctor says it is okay. If you need surgery, it's best to have an empty stomach. If you're thirsty, you can rinse your mouth with water.
  • Do not take laxatives. If you have appendicitis, they can make the appendix burst.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions about taking medicines. Your doctor may tell you not to take antibiotics or pain pills. These medicines can make it harder to tell if you have appendicitis.
  • Watch for symptoms of appendicitis. These include severe belly pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting. It is very important to follow your doctor's instructions about getting treatment if you have these symptoms.

Possible appendicitis in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse belly pain. Or the pain has become focused in one area of your child's belly.
  • Your child has nausea and does not want to eat.
  • Your child is vomiting.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child cannot pass stools or gas.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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