When to Call the Doctor
For most healthy children, catching a common childhood illness, such as a cold or the stomach bug, is not a cause for panic. Colds and stomach bugs are caused by viruses, and you can usually treat the symptoms at home. So how do you know when your child’s problem is one you can handle at home? When should you call the doctor? What information does the pediatrician need? Here is a parent’s guide to help you decide when to call the doctor.
When an infant under 3 months runs a fever of 100.4°F or higher, even if she shows not other symptoms of illness, call the doctor right away. Same for infants 3 to 6 months with 101 F degrees or higher. Over 6 months, call if over 103 F or higher degrees. Anytime your child has a fever along with a rash or stiffness in the neck, contact the doctor without delay.
Coughs, Colds, and Trouble Breathing:
Older children with a cold usually don’t need to see the doctor.When your child has a cold and their coughing becomes so severe they cannot sleep, you need to call the doctor right away. If their breathing becomes labored or they are breathing rapidly, it is time to seek immediate medical attention.
If your child is producing less ruin then usual or has ark colored ruin, they may be dehydrated. Also, if your child is dehydrated, they may stop producing tears or their eyes may look sunken in. Call the doctor right away if you think your child is showing any signs of dehydration.
A child with a cold or stomach bug may not feel much like eating. However, if they eat or drink less than half of their normal portion of food and drink and it’s been more than two days, then it is time to let there doctor know of the issue. Unexplained poor food intake with fever for two days or decreased urine for one day (or both).
When speaking with the doctor:
Before you call, have a pen and paper ready to write down any instructions and questions. It’s easy to forget things, especially if you are worried about your child. Be prepared to answer these questions:
- What’s your child’s temperature?
- When did you last take it?
- How long has he had the fever?
- Does he have any other symptoms?
- What medicines, including prescription or nonprescription drugs your child is taking?
* Pharmacy: Have the phone number of your pharmacy ready.
Editor’s Note: Whether it’s for medicines, minor illnesses, injuries, even parenting advice, you should always feel free to call the doctor. If you see signs that your child needs medical attention that may not appear in this blog, please do not hesitate to call the doctor’s office. Most physicians have nurses available to speak to parents on the phone to triage your child’s symptoms and to help you determine if a visit is necessary.