Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When is baby sick enough to go to see the doctor?

Taking care of our children can be scary if they aren’t feeling 100%. An infant who is vomiting or a toddler who fell out of bed can bring out the worst fears. How do we know when it’s important to seek medical help and when can we take care of things on our own?

There are a few guidelines that are generally followed, but the best thing to do is listen to yourself. If your gut is telling you that something is wrong, follow that intuition. While you may end up seeing a doctor only to be told that everything is fine, it’s much better that you have a false alarm than if you ignore your intuition and end up having a more serious problem.

I used to teach first aid and many people in my classes were young parents. This was one of their concerns: how to tell if their child was really injured or sick? I can assure you that even a nurse, with many years of experience, as well as being a first aid teacher, I wasn’t always right myself. I sometimes brought my children unnecessarily and other times, they waited a bit longer than they should have. But, we can only do our best.

Now, it’s fine to tell you to follow your intuition, but as I said earlier, there are some guidelines as to when you should call your doctor as soon as possible (Source: Mayo Clinic, Ohio Health).


Circumcision: Boys whose penis begins to bleed or is oozing.
Dehydration: Babies who haven’t wet a diaper for 6 hours or longer.
Diarrhea: Babies who have diarrhea or watery stool for 6 or more diaper changes in a row.
Fever: Babies under 2 months old who have a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
Lethargy: Babies who are difficult to wake, don’t want to feed and seem really out of sorts.
Loss of appetite: Infants who don’t want to nurse or take a bottle for a few feedings in a row.
Umbilical cord: Infants whose umbilical cord seems tender, oozes, has a foul smell or bleeds.

While not emergencies, you should also call a doctor if your child:

-appears to have ear pain, pulling on ears, discharge
-discharge from the eyes
-has a rash for an extended period of time
-has skin that is jaundiced, or yellowish
-is constipated (for infants, after only a couple of days)

Emergencies that require a visit to an urgent care or emergency for any age child include:

Bleeding that you can’t stop with pressure
Head injuries
High fever
Sudden lethargy or inability to move
Trouble breathing

For older children, many emergency room visits result from accidents. If your child has injured his or herself, it’s best to be safe than sorry. Listen to your instincts and listen to your child. You make up the best team and can usually figure out what to do.

News for today:
U.S. Mammography Rates Dropping

Anti-epilepsy medications recalled

Mumps sidelines hospital workers

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