How do you know when it is time to take a child to the Doctor?

2017-10-15 14:13:39

Our children have recently been sick and I am wondering when is the right time to take them to the doctor. They both have had runny noses with coughs, diarrhea, and fevers off and on for a week, between the two of them. We have treated symptomatically. I don't want to be a hypochondriac parent who rushes the child in for every little thing, but I also don't want to be negligent when there is something seriously wrong that we may not see.

A good pediatrician should have an on-call service 24/7. First time parents especially may not always know when it's serious and when it's not. A good pediatrician (and nursing staff) also will say that you should at least call in rather than not. When in doubt, err on the side of caution!

You may not need to take the child to the doctor, but one call can reduce concern. It is entirely justified to say that one of the roles of a pediatrician is to make the parents feel better, too.

Call in more often than not. Remember, even

  • A good pediatrician should have an on-call service 24/7. First time parents especially may not always know when it's serious and when it's not. A good pediatrician (and nursing staff) also will say that you should at least call in rather than not. When in doubt, err on the side of caution!

    You may not need to take the child to the doctor, but one call can reduce concern. It is entirely justified to say that one of the roles of a pediatrician is to make the parents feel better, too.

    Call in more often than not. Remember, even if your child is not sick, it is not "wasting the doctor's time" to call and ask.

    Also, you can ask your doctor when they think you should call them. It is a question they are very used to hearing, and they will give you guidelines.

    Go to the doctor when:

    you know there's a need for treatment (some obvious case of illness to be treated)

    you're concerned that there might be a need for treatment,

    you're in doubt about the cause, seriousness, treatment, or

    2017-10-15 14:14:16
  • A good pediatrician should have on call 24/7. First time parents especially may not always know when it's serious and when it's not. A good pediatrician (and nursing staff) also will say that you should at least call in rather than not.

    You may not need to take the child to the doctor; but one call can reduce concern. I often joked that the purpose of my child's pediatrician was to make my spouse and I feel better.

    Call in more than not because the worse thing you can do is wave off something serious because you're concerned about seeming too hypochondriac.

    2017-10-15 14:28:59
  • The following list is a summary of ones listed at Mayo Clinic

    Changes in appetite (refuses several feedings in a row or eats poorly.

    Changes in mood (lethargic, unusually difficult to rouse, persistently irritable,or inconsolable crying).

    Tender navel or penis (umbilical area or penis suddenly becomes red or

    starts to ooze or bleed).

    Fever. ANY fever if younger than age 3 months, 3 months or older an

    oral temperature of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher, give your baby

    acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and contact doctor if the fever

    doesn't respond to the medication or lasts longer than one day or is

    unusually irritable, lethargic or uncomfortable.

    Diarrhea (especially loose or watery stools.)

    Vomiting or spiting up large portions of multiple feedings or vomits

    forcefully after feedings.

    Dehydration (if baby doesn't wet a diaper for six hours or longer, the

    soft spot on top of your baby's head seems to sink, or your baby cries

    without tears or

    2017-10-15 14:30:05
  • I'm the mother of a 14-month-old girl. My policies with regard to doctor calls/visits are:

    If I'm asking on the Internet, I should be asking the doctor or nurse.

    If I wonder if I should bring my baby in for a visit, then I should.

    If I have 1 question, I at least call the doctor's office.

    If I have more than 2 questions, I set up a consultation so I'm not bombarding the doctor over the phone and have more time for follow-ups and note-taking.

    If I have any questions (which is always have), I bring a notepad with questions written down in advance and write the answers.

    If the doctor doesn't take me and my questions seriously, then it's time to find a new practice.

    People can give you general advice, but none of us have access to your baby's medical chart, and general advice may not work for some children for subtle reasons. For example: my baby had severe diaper rash. Ordinarily diaper rash isn't too much to worry about, and if I'd asked about it online, I think I would have got

    2017-10-15 14:46:59
  • This is not medical advice; I have no medical training; if in doubt see a doctor.

    This is a nice bit of advice:

    http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/birthtofive/Pages/Childhoodillnesshub.aspx

    When it comes to your child's health, it's always better to be safe than sorry. If you are ever in doubt about your child's health, talk to a health professional. Serious childhood illnesses are extremely rare. But, if you think your child might be affected, always trust your instincts and get medical help straight away.

    Here's their advice about recognising serious illness:

    The following symptoms should always be treated as serious:

    a high-pitched, weak or continuous cry

    a lack of responsiveness, reduction in activity or increased floppiness

    in babies, a bulging fontanelle (the soft spot on a baby's head)

    neck stiffness (in a child)

    not drinking for more than eight hours (taking solid food is not as important)

    a temperature of over 38°C for a baby less than three months ol

    2017-10-15 15:02:39
  • Ask your doctor when they think you should call them. They will give you the parameters.

    We don't have paediatricians available or on call unless it's through the emergency department. We do have access to "Telehealth" so we can personally speak to a Registered Nurse.

    This site has some guidelines that sounded similar to what my doctor told us.

    2017-10-15 15:08:07
  • It is hard to give a definitive answer here.

    You might not worry about a runny nose as long as the fluid is clear.

    You might not worry about one day of diarrhea when you know what it might have come from (too much vegetables at once for instance). However a child must compensate for the increased loss of fluids.

    Coughs are hard to classify here for many different things can cause them.

    You should visit the doctor when the fever climbs above 38.5 degree celsius.

    As I said: It is hard to give a definitive answer here.

    2017-10-15 15:20:11
  • I can't recommend Dr. Michel Cohen's book, THE NEW BASICS, enough. He is a very well trusted pediatrician based in New York City. The whole book is organized around when to seek professional care. It catalogues every ailment alphabetically and after each entry is a "when not to worry" and "when to worry" list. Each list is very specific and extremely useful for this exact dilemma.

    2017-10-15 15:23:07
  • If my child is experiencing any of the symptoms that you mentioned, I will immediately bring him to the doctor. It is better to be given proper treatment early on, so it will not get worst. Babies cannot articulate what they are actually feeling, so it is best to leave it all to the experts. I would not mind going here and there to the doctor, as long as I know that my baby is okay. Besides, paying consultation fees for check up and some medicines are more affordable compared with your child being confined in a hospital.

    2017-10-15 15:31:43