The Jump Test for Appendicitis: What Parents Need to Know

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A Sigh of Relief: The Jump Test as a Way to Rule Out Appendicitis

When your child complains of stomach pain, parents often worry about the worst-case scenario – appendicitis. But before you panic, pediatricians have a simple test that can help determine whether it’s something more serious or just a garden-variety tummy ache.

It’s called the jump test, and according to Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician in Atlanta, it’s an easy way to rule out the potential of appendicitis. If your child can jump without too much pain or complaint, it’s a good indicator that they don’t have appendicitis.

The appendix is a small, dead-end tube branching off the large intestine on the lower-right side of the abdomen. When inflamed, it causes severe pain and requires surgical removal. Hospital tests such as blood tests and imaging are used to diagnose the condition.

Shu adds that when it comes to children, appendicitis is not common, affecting only about 1 to 2 young children per 10,000 each year.

However, there are other home tests parents can try in addition to the jump test, such as pressing on certain areas to check for pain. If there is pain, it could be a sign of peritonitis and possibly appendicitis.

Most cases of stomach pain in children are likely due to more benign causes, such as constipation, a stomach virus, anxiety, or eating something unusual. But in the rare instance that it is appendicitis, the jump test serves as a simple yet effective way to bring peace of mind to parents concerned about their child’s well-being.

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