Do You Need To Call The Pediatrician?
When should your child visit the pediatrician? Now that cold, flu, RSV, and Covid season is in full swing, take a look at what parents need to know about common pediatric issues and how a children's doctor can help.
Should You Call With A Question?
Your child has a fever, a sore throat, a stuffy nose, an injury, or just isn't acting like themselves. But you're not sure if you should call the doctor, consult the Internet, ask a friend, post a question in your local parent's Facebook group, or just wait it out.
While the internet is a useful tool in some cases and social media parenting groups can provide support, these aren't substitutes for a medical doctor's advice. If you have any concerns about your child's physical health, mental health, behavior, or anything else, call the pediatrician's office—even if the issue seems silly or small.
Pediatricians (and the rest of the practice's staff) have heard it all and won't judge you for calling with a question. Not only won't they judge you, but they'll also listen to your concern, take the issue seriously, and recommend the next steps to take. These steps could include scheduling a visit with the doctor, visiting a specialist, going to the ER, or at-home treatment.
When Should You Call the Doctor?
The answer to this question depends on the illness, injury, or issue. In general, contact the doctor as soon as possible—especially if this is a new or sudden issue.
What About Fevers?
Fevers are common during many childhood illnesses. A cold, the flu, Covid, strep throat, and many other viral and bacterial infections can cause your child's temperature to rise. This may mean that your child has a fever often. While some fevers won't require a trip to the doctor's office, you can always call the pediatrician with questions.
Even though your child is no stranger to fevers, they may still need medical attention. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents or caregivers should call the doctor if the child has a fever over 104 degrees Fahrenheit, is three months or under and has a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, is unusually drowsy or fussy, has additional symptoms (such as a severe headache, sore throat, GI issues, ear pain, or a rash), is immunocompromised, had a seizure (this requires emergency attention), or was in an extremely hot environment.
The AAP notes that parents or caregivers should also contact the doctor if the child continues to act sick after the fever resolves, the fever or symptoms get worse, the fever won't go down after 24 hours and the child is under two years, or the fever won't go away after 72 hours and the child is over age two. If your child doesn't meet these criteria, but you still have concerns or they don't seem like themselves, contact the doctor as soon as possible. Again, there's no substitute for the pediatrician's advice.
For more information, contact a pediatrician near you.