Posts for tag: sick child
Your child just woke up with a runny nose, an elevated temperature and body aches. Could this just be a passing cold or could it be the flu? It’s important to be able to tell the difference between the two. A common cold is usually mild and will go away on its own without treatment but the flu often requires medical attention to prevent serious complications. While an annual flu shot can protect your child from developing the flu it’s also important to know what to look for and when to visit their pediatrician for care.
Warning Signs of the Flu
Unfortunately the common cold and the influenza viruses have a lot of the same symptoms, which can make it difficult to determine what your child might have. We know that you don’t want to worry unnecessarily and rush them into the office if you don’t need to but it’s also good to know when their condition warrants medical attention.
One difference is that a cold will come on gradually over the course of a couple of days while the flu will often attack suddenly, with symptoms showing up practically overnight. While a fever isn’t a common symptom of a cold a fever is almost always present with the flu, as well as full body achiness or weakness.
Children are also more likely to deal with diarrhea or vomiting with the flu. While symptoms of a cold are usually localized to the head, flu symptoms are more widespread.
You Suspect Your Child has the Flu. Now What?
The first step is to call your pediatrician. While it can take up to a week for your child to feel better after the flu sometimes medical attention is required. It’s especially important that you talk to your doctor if your child has flu-like symptoms and they are under the age of 5, as young children are more likely to deal with health-related complications from the flu.
You’ve talked to your doctor and you now know whether you are supposed to bring them in right away for care or whether you should continue to monitor their condition before bringing them in. At this point the most important thing you can do is help reduce their discomfort and control their symptoms. Make sure they are staying hydrated and getting as much rest as possible.
Avoid giving your child over-the-counter medications, as many of these medications aren’t safe for young children and won’t be effective for treating flu symptoms. If your child has a mild fever ask your pediatrician what over-the-counter medications could help alleviate their fever. Keep in mind: Children should never take aspirin!
The sooner you seek medical attention for the flu the better, as many antiviral medications can prevent the virus from getting worse if it’s administered within the first 48 hours. This medication is often taken for 5 to 7 days and it can help ease symptoms and speed up recovery.
The key is making sure to get your child proper medical care as soon as flu-like symptoms appear. Call your children’s doctor right away.
When To Take Your Child To Urgent Care
As a parent, you want to always do everything you can when your child is sick, but sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly how sick your child is, especially when they’re very young and can’t communicate what is bothering them. Urgent care or a trip to the hospital isn’t always needed for simple problems such as a cold, mild diarrhea, or mild fevers. So, when is it necessary to take your child to urgent care?
Not all illnesses need an immediate visit with your pediatrician and it’s important for you to know what symptoms to look out for. Some symptoms that may require urgent care are:
Vomiting and diarrhea that lasts more than a few hours
Rash, especially with a fever
A cough or cold that lasts several days
Large cuts or gashes
Limping or the inability to move an arm or leg
Ear pain with fever
A severe sore throat or swallowing problems
Sharp and persistent stomach or abdomen pain
Blood in urine
Blood in stool
Not being able to drink for more than 12 hours
Rectal temperature of 100.4 F or higher in a baby younger than 2 months old
Fever and vomiting
Any pain that gets worse and doesn’t go away after several hours
While many illnesses may go away with love and nurturing after a few days, there are times when it is necessary to see your pediatrician as soon as possible. If your child has any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to call your pediatrician right away to find out if it is necessary for your child to go in for an appointment so that your child can get well as soon as possible.
It's not always easy to decide if you should make that call to your pediatrician's office when your child is sick. They are certainly not feeling well, but is he or she sick enough for a trip to the doctor's office? West Jordan doctors Pari Mashkuri, Valerie Rahaniotis, Jeff Jackson, Molly Montes, Harper Randall and physician's assistant Jared Spackman of Southwest Children's Clinic in West Jordan are here to share a few times when visits are important.
A fever helps the body fight off infection and isn't automatically a reason to bring your child in for a visit, but there are some cases in which your child should be seen, including:
- Your baby is younger than three months old and has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher.
- Your older child has had a fever for two or three days or longer.
- Your child has a fever of 104 degrees or higher.
- The fever doesn't decrease after you give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Vomiting and diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea accompany many illnesses. Child sick visits are necessary if:
- Vomiting and diarrhea last more than a few hours.
- Your child has severe abdominal pain.
- Your child's stomach looks swollen, and he or she has a fever.
- Vomiting or diarrhea is accompanied by back pain and painful urination.
- You notice blood when your child vomits or has diarrhea.
Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can occur very quickly in infants. Bring your child in for a sick visit if he or she shows any of these signs:
- Your child has decreased urination or no urination. (If your child is a baby, call if you notice no wet diapers in a three-hour period.)
- Your child complains that he or she has a dry mouth or is thirsty.
- Your child cries but doesn't produce tears.
- Headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness occurs.
- Your child's skin is dry.
Coughing often occurs when your child has a virus, but in some cases, that cough can lead to pneumonia or other respiratory problems. Call if:
- Your child coughs constantly or the cough interferes with sleep.
- The cough is accompanied by noisy breathing or pain.
- The cough lasts more than two weeks.
- The cough is accompanied by a fever that lasts more than three days or ear pain.
- Constant coughing causes vomiting.
You know your child better than anyone else. If he or she develops any symptoms that concern you, call Southwest Children's Clinic in West Jordan at (801) 563-1975. Their medical team is skilled at evaluating symptoms and will let you know when child sick visits are needed.