It’s Sunday night. Your 4-year-old son is crying, and you can’t comfort him. He is going to the bathroom more frequently than usual. He has vomited once. Do you call the pediatrician, or do you wait until Monday morning?
Deciding when or when not to call the pediatrician is a moment of uncertainty that, unfortunately, most parents experience. Our team would always reassure you to follow what your heart is telling you. If deep inside you feel that something is not right, or you’re not sure if what you’re seeing is normal or not, please call us.
Today we show you part 1 of a quick symptom guide to help you decide whether to call the pediatrician or not.
How to handle a fever depends on your child’s age. In a baby under 2 months old, a rectal temperature of 100.4 F or higher is an emergency. Go straight to the ER. Sometimes babies can have a serious infection, and the only sign is a fever.
In children older than 2 months, the number on the thermometer is less telling than other clues. More important than the number is how the child is acting with the fever and how long they’ve had it. For instance, if a child has a 101-degree fever but they’re really irritable, they won’t eat, they’re not acting like themselves, or they won’t stop crying, that is a matter of concern.
Three days is usually the magic number for viral fevers to last. Any fever that lasts longer deserves a call to your doctor. It may have turned into a bacterial infection like pneumonia.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
These symptoms usually signal a viral infection. On their own, they’re nothing to worry about. But when they’re too intense, they can be a problem. The key thing to be concerned about is dehydration. For instance, if the child is crying, and you don’t see tears, they’re headed toward getting dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include less pee than usual; fewer than 6 wet diapers per day in infants; dark urine; dry, cracked lips and mouth; sunken eyes; crankiness; sunken soft spot on top of the head (in babie犀利士
s younger than 18 months).
Many stomach viruses that cause vomiting or diarrhea lasts 24 hours or less. Call your pediatrician if these symptoms last longer or your child has a fever too.
Another big warning sign is a red or black color in the poop or vomit or flecks that look like coffee grounds. These could be blood. That’s a medical emergency.
If your child’s illness is mild enough to wait until morning, keep a journal. Write a list of symptoms and questions for the pediatrician. This will help guide your talk with the doctor the next morning.
Adapted from Grow by WebMD. Original publication: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/when-call-pediatrician#2