It is inevitable that children will get sick at some point. Usually, it turns out to be an ailment that clears up on its own. If you are questioning your child’s health, it is usually wise to err on the side of caution and call your doctor. For reference, here are some symptoms that should never be ignored.
A mild headache will usually clear up on its own with rest or over-the-counter pain medication. A child with a major headache will not be cured with simple remedies. If the headache leaves the child incapacitated and unable to follow a normal routine, or is accompanied by a rash, high fever, lethargy or vomiting call your doctor right away.
A fever is the body’s way of fighting off infection and can last a few days. Parents need to consider the symptoms that accompany the fever to determine when to call their doctor. If the child is able to eat and play, this is less concerning than a child who looks unwell. Seek medical attention for children over the age of two with a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Also, call a doctor if the fever is persistent for more than two days. Children under two should see their doctor within 48 hours if the fever persists.
A rash that turns white when pressed on is usually nothing to worry about. But one that fails to change color when pressed on should seek emergency care just to be safe. This type of rash accompanied by fever, vomiting or coughing could indicate a medical emergency, such as meningitis or sepsis. Trouble breathing with a rash could be an allergic reaction. This is a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately.
If your infant seems to have trouble focusing on objects around them or close to their face, talk with your pediatrician. With school-age children look for signs of reading too close to their face, squinting or consistent rubbing of the eyes for signs of vision problems. Often, when children are disruptive in class they are labeled as a “troublemaker” or ADHD, when in reality they are showing frustrations due to vision problems.
Asthma has become quite prevalent in the United States and is nothing to ignore. Labored breathing during activity, shortness of breath or exhaling, accompanied by a whistling sound, are all indicators of asthma. While there is no cure, there are treatment plans available. An untreated asthma attack can be fatal.
Stomach flu symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea lasting several hours could lead to dehydration. If they are unable to retain liquids, an IV fluid drip may be needed. A doctor may also prescribe medicine to stop the vomiting. However, these symptoms along with abdominal pain and tenderness could be appendicitis.
Even when the illness appears to be serious, many parents resist the urge to seek medical attention for fear of being judged if it is not as critical as first thought. However, you as the parent know your child better than anyone. Do not be afraid to advocate for them.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer from Arizona. She loves blogging about home, family, finances, and health topics. An ophthalmologist in South Jordan Utah was consulted for this article.