Call the doctor if your child has any one of these 10 symptoms

Image of mother checking daughter's temperature.

1.  Extreme changes in behavior: Not being aware of surroundings or familiar people. Changes in speaking, such as difficulty forming words or completing thoughts.

2.  Signs of dehydration: Unable to keep down liquids. Frequent vomiting or diarrhea. Little oral intake and a dry sticky mouth. Urinating infrequently (less than every 8 hours in children younger than age 1; less than every 12 hours in children older than age 1).

3.  Pains that awaken a child at night: headaches, stomach aches, or muscle aches that awaken a child from a sound sleep.

4.  Abdominal pain that gets worse and won’t go away: If pain does not improve with child over-the-counter pain relievers. If a fever also is present. Pain with physical movement like walking.

5.  Blood in urine or stool: Blood in urine is very uncommon in children and could be a sign of infection or a kidney problem. Blood in stool when a child has not been constipated. Blood in stool when there is a history of travel. Painless bleeding without bowel movement.

6.  Pain or frequency with urination: Going to the bathroom many times in an hour. Pain when trying to urinate. Eating and drinking a lot but still losing weight. If a child is not verbal, look for these clues: irritability, crankiness, and fever for 2-3 days with no known cause.

7.  Fevers in certain age groups: Any child younger than 2 months with a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher should be seen immediately. Ages 2 months to 3 years with a fever for 2 to 3 days but no known cause. Fevers lasting longer than 5 to 6 days.

8.  Breathing problems: If your child does not have asthma and any of the following are happening: Rib cage squeezing, flared nostrils, straining abdominal muscles. Audible wheezing, which is a noise that sounds like harsh air blowing through a straw. A tight whistling sound during inhalation. If this isn’t helped by a cool mist or humidity, seek medical attention immediately. Coughing that is so severe that your child can’t breathe.

9.  Difficulty drinking: Can’t drink enough to urinate every 3-4 hours. Going 8-12 hours or more without urinating.

10. Parent’s gut instinct that something is wrong.

 

Source: Dr. Hannah Chow-Johnson, pediatrician at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.

 

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