KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An intense, sudden pain in the stomach area could be a case of appendicitis.

It’s important to know the signs. Dr. Kristin Farr from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital stopped by the WATE 6 On Your Side studios to share what to know about appendicitis.

Is there an age of child that is most susceptible to appendicitis?

Most often affects those between the ages of 11 & 20, but can happen to younger children, too.

What are the signs and symptoms to look out for?

Call doctor immediately if your child shows symptoms of appendicitis, including:

  • Significant abdominal pain, especially around the bellybutton or lower right side of abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Low-grade fever, begins after other symptoms

Why is it so important to act quickly?

If untreated, the inflamed appendix can burst 24 to 72 hours after symptoms begin. A ruptured appendix can spread bacteria & infection through body.

What will happen at the hospital?

Appendicitis can be tough to diagnose, but there’s a new ultrasound tool that can be helpful to ER doctors; emergency surgery will be required and prep for surgery includes no food or drink and a hospital stay that may be a couple days.

Because of COVID-19, things look different now — only one parent/caregiver is allowed with a child inside the facility and everyone is being screened and wearing masks.

It’s safe, so please don’t delay medical care.

What effect does removing the appendix have on the body?

The appendix has no known purpose – once removed the child’s body will function just fine.