The pediatrician is an invaluable resource for helping you keep your child or children in the best health possible. Hopefully you don’t have to call the doctor often, but here are some situations that are good signs that it’s time to make a quick call for guidance.
- Fever over 105 F (40.5 C), or 100.4 F (38 C) for babies under 3 months
Fevers normally have to be over 106 F (41.1 C) to pose a risk to the brain, but it’s best that you call the pediatrician for any fever over 100.4 F (38 C) in a baby less than 3 months old. If you do notice a high fever, you should also pay attention to any other symptoms your child might be displaying. You may also want to call for a lower fever if it lasts more than a few days, as this is probably a sign of illness.
- Bloody stool
If the poop is black, it might mean blood has been digested. This could just be a result of bleeding or cracked nipples while breastfeeding, but could also be a sign of something more serious. Call the doctor regardless, just to be safe. Poop that is mostly bright red with blood is of greater concern, and should lead to an immediate call to the doctor.
- Intense abdominal pain
Digestive problems are about as common in babies as trees are in a forest, but you should definitely call the pediatrician if your child is experiencing intense abdominal pain, or if the pain is concentrated in one area.
- Severe vomiting, or vomiting that lasts longer than a day
Like abdominal pain, a child is bound to vomit at some point in the early days, but very severe or frequent vomiting, or vomiting that lasts longer than a day deserves a call to the pediatrician.
- Intense diarrhea or mild diarrhea that lasts for 10 or more days
Diarrhea is pretty common in babies, but if your child has severe, dehydrating diarrhea, or mild diarrhea that lasts more than 10 days, you should call the doctor.
Common signs of dehydration include a lack of tears when crying, fewer wet diapers than you previously noticed, or going 6 or more hours with a dry diaper.
- Lethargy, or lack of interest in feeding
This could be symptomatic of a number of different things, so it’s best to call the doctor if a baby seems more lethargic or less interested in eating than usual.
- Constant or painful cough
A small cough that goes away is no big deal, but a cough that is constant, or causes pain should definitely be reported.
- Breathing problems
If it seems like there’s some breathing trouble going on, you should call the pediatrician right away. This includes wheezing, or straining for breath.
- Rash that doesn’t clear within a few days
Lots of children get rashes, but most clear within a few days. If it doesn’t, it’s a good idea to make the call.
- If you’re worried
Last, but certainly not least, you should feel free to call the pediatrician whenever you’re worried. Now, we’re not saying to call about every sneeze and boo-boo, but if a call to the doctor would make you feel more comfortable, you shouldn’t hesitate to make it.