November 29, 2021
Every parent has been there: You know your child doesn’t feel well, but you are unsure if you should call your pediatrician. Nobody wants to go to the doctor if they don’t have to, but you certainly want to give your child the medical attention they need.
To help you and other parents make these decisions, our pediatric physicians have created a list of five signs that you need to contact your pediatric medical center or after-hours care provider. We’ve also compiled a list of frequently asked questions that our pediatricians have answered regarding the signs a child needs to see a doctor.
5 Signs It’s Time to Call Your Child’s Doctor
1. High temperature
There’s an old saying in pediatric medicine that states, “a fever is your friend.” They say this because a high body temperature triggers a set of immune responses that help protect your child’s body. However, many parents are quick to think that any fever means a call or trip to the doctor. But, in reality, not all fevers are dangerous or are an emergency that requires a doctor’s visit (unless the baby is under two months old).
If you’re wondering if your child needs to see a doctor for their fever, here are some guidelines to follow: Contact your pediatric medical group if your child is younger than 12 weeks and has a temperature of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or if your child of any age has a fever that repeatedly goes higher than 104°F (40°C).
2. Intense abdominal pain, especially in a specific area
Digestive problems are common in children, especially babies, but not all stomach problems are severe enough to warrant a call to your Connecticut pediatricians. Eating too much, not going to the bathroom as needed, common stomach bugs, and even anxiety or stress can cause stomachaches.
However, some abdominal problems require prompt attention, and it is not always easy to determine which “tummy problems” warrant a phone call and which do not. Intense abdominal pain may be a sign of a serious condition, especially if it occurs in just one localized spot rather than as generalized, overall achy feeling.
3. Breathing problems
Wheezing, unexplained cough, and other non-serious breathing problems warrant a call to your pediatrician. Shortness of breath, labored breathing, coughing up blood, a cough that does not stop, or other serious breathing problems require immediate medical attention.
4. Severe vomiting or diarrhea
Short bouts of mild vomiting or diarrhea are usually nothing to worry about, especially if they respond to home treatment or withholding food for a few hours. Severe vomiting or diarrhea, or vomiting or diarrhea that persist for hours may cause dehydration that poses a serious health risk. Call your pediatric health associates if your child cannot hold down fluids or shows signs of dehydration, such as lack of tears when crying, dark yellow and strong-smelling urine, urinating fewer than four times in a day, or dry mouth.
Rashes come in almost form and have various causes, so they can be tough to figure out. As a rule of thumb, if the rash does not bother your child, don’t worry about it but keep your eye on it – if it does not go away in a few days, call your pediatrician. Always contact your pediatrician right away if fever accompanies the rash, as the two together could signal an infection.
When you call the doctor, be prepared to tell the pediatrician details about the rash, such as:
- Whether or not it is oozing or weeping
- Blistering or bubbling
- If it looks like a bullseye or target
A rash may also be a sign of an allergic reaction to medicine. The pediatrician may ask about any prescriptions or over-the-counter medications your child may be taking, so have those on hand just in case.For more information about when to see a pediatrician, contact Pediatric & Medical Associates. You can also visit our blog to learn more about pediatric health care in general.