Parents often worry about their children’s health. It can be tempting to call the doctor for every ache and pain, every cold or sniffle. If this is something you struggle with, here are 7 tips to help you decide when to take your children to see the doctor.
1). For Regular Checkups
It’s a good idea to take your child to the doctor on a regular basis. These checkups will help to make sure they stay healthy.
As one pediatric center in Richmond explains, it’s important to take your child to the doctor regularly for a few main reasons:
- Staying current on immunizations
- Monitoring development
- Overall health and well-being
Staying current on immunizations is important for preventing many childhood diseases. While it may be tempting to let your child catch the diseases in order to “toughen up” their immune system, vaccines can accomplish this same thing with far less discomfort, pain, and risk to your child.
Monitoring development is another important aspect of regular visits to the pediatrician. Your child’s doctor can help you keep track of how well they are developing, and identify any issues.
Regular visits are also good for monitoring children’s health and well-being in general. We’ve talked before about habits of healthy children, and if you’re having any difficulty in instilling those your pediatrician may be able to help you find some solutions.
2). In Case of Vomiting or Diarrhea
It is fairly common for children to have the occasional episode of vomiting or diarrhea, but if these symptoms persist for more than a few hours it’s a good idea to call the pediatrician.
Excessive vomiting or diarrhea may indicate a disease, possibly a bacterial infection. They can also lead to dehydration, particularly if your child is having trouble keeping fluids down.
Fortunately, many of these cases resolve themselves in short order. Most of the time, an episode of vomiting or diarrhea won’t necessitate a visit to the pediatrician. Still, it’s good to be on guard against those cases that do warrant medical attention.
3). Coughs and Colds
A cough or cold is not usually much of an issue for older children, but in younger children with weaker, less experienced immune systems it can be a concern.
In particular, call your child’s doctor if your child has trouble with respiration, or has a stuffy nose for more than 10 days or a cough for more than a week. If your child is a baby of 3 months or younger, call your pediatrician at the first sign of illness.
Most childhood rashes, like probably the majority of childhood coughs and colds, are not a big deal: they occur because of exposure to an irritant or allergen of some kind, they are unpleasant but not seriously so, and they go away after a little while.
Sometimes, however, rashes are a more serious issue. If your child has a painful rash, or shows a loss of energy, or if the rash seems to go deep into the skin, call their doctor.
5). Pain During Urination
If your child has pain when they urinate, pay attention – and call their doctor, especially if your child is a girl. There is a possibility that they have a urinary tract infection (UTI), more so if they are a girl.
Fevers are another common childhood ailment that may or may not warrant medical attention – and this is precisely why it’s important to keep an eye on your child when they have a fever.
If your child has a fever but is still in good spirits and seems reasonably active, keep an eye on them but don’t worry too much. Make sure they consume plenty of fluids, get some good rest, and monitor their breathing to make sure they aren’t showing fast, labored breathing.
If the fever is high and stays high, or if your child is young, call a doctor. If your child is anywhere from age 3 months to 3 years and their favor goes over 102 F, call a doctor. If they’re a baby under 3 months and the fever breaks 100.4 F, call a doctor.
In general, if the fever seems bad and your child is not doing well, call a doctor.
7). Ear Infection
Ear infections often develop in children after colds. If your child has pain in one or both ears, tugs or pulls at their ears, and has a fever, they likely have an ear infection.
Mild ear infections may not warrant medical attention. However, if the pain is significant or if it simply does not seem to be going away, call their doctor.
Not every childhood ailment requires medical attention, but many do. It’s a good idea to keep your children current on doctor’s visits and to seek medical attention for anything that seems serious. Hopefully these 7 tips will help you out.