Call the Pediatrician? Easy-to-Follow Guidelines
Nothing is worse than when your easygoing baby starts to cry, spikes a fever and becomes irritable and uncomfortable, or when your child wanders into your bedroom in the middle of the night and says, “Mommy, I don’t feel well,” then starts to vomit. First, you deal with the situation at hand and then you wonder, “Should I call the pediatrician?”.
Children don’t come with instruction manuals, so it’s difficult to know when something is wrong or when symptoms stem from routine illnesses. When should you worry and reach out to your child’s doctor?
It’s important to know that if your child is sick and you feel something isn’t right, you should trust your instincts and call the pediatrician. Here are a few additional guidelines to consider:
Baby under two months of age with a fever. Contact your child’s doctor immediately if your baby has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher and is under two months of age. This is a strict guideline. Infants at this age can become severely ill quickly and it is urgent that your pediatrician be made aware.
Baby three to six months of age with fever of 101 degrees or higher. Older babies may still be susceptible to infection, so when his or her fever spikes to 101 degrees or higher, get in touch with your child’s doctor for guidance on the best way forward. He or she can help you better understand the illness and guide you on deciding if there is cause for concern and how to make your child more comfortable.
Baby who is fussy, drowsy or lethargic during illness. A fever is just one indicator to watch, but also watch your child’s behavior. If a baby is fussy and unusually lethargic, it is a good reason to get in touch with the doctor.
Child has temperature of 103 degrees or higher — regardless of age. Children get high fevers. It’s not uncommon. But once that fever reaches 103 degrees, get in touch with the pediatrician’s office to determine if your child needs to be seen.
Baby who has been in a very hot place during the day, such as outside or at the beach, and then spikes a fever. Babies and young children can get heat exhaustion, so contact the doctor immediately if a fever occurs after your child spent the day in hot conditions.
A fever that lasts several days. Maybe your child doesn’t have a high fever but has one that sticks around for several days. If so, get in touch with your pediatrician and discuss the fever and other symptoms.
A few additional symptoms to watch. As I said, a fever is only one symptom to watch. There are others to track and discuss. For example, a child with a fever and stomach pain or extreme headache or sore throat or ear pain warrants reaching out for advice. Also, the condition of a child who is vomiting and not able to eat or drink should be discussed with his or her doctor. Signs of dehydration include a lack of tears when crying or infrequent urination.