This time of year is prime time for illness and doctors say their offices are buzzing. But not every sneeze and sniffle requires a trip to the doctor. In this month's Ask The Pediatrician report, you'll find some guidelines on when to take the kids in.
Bringing nine-year-old Alizayah to the doctor was an easy decision. She's been suffering from severe abdominal pains. But mom says it's not always an easy call.
"Should I take her?" Erin Yost asks herself. "Because I don't want to, you know, have it be nothing."
Dr. Clancy McNally says there are some guidelines to help you decide if your child needs to see the doctor.
She says, "When we've got the vomiting and all that stuff, where we're not keeping anything down; if you can't get your kids aroused; if you're not getting them to urinate at least three times a day - then they need to be seen."
A thermometer will definitely come in handy if you're trying to figure out if your child should see the doctor. If they have a temperature of 104 or 105, especially if you can't bring it down with Tylenol or Ibuprofen, your pediatrician will want to see them.
But for infants, under three months, fever is a different story. Any temperature of 100.4 or higher means they should be checked out. As for the typical cold and cough, symptoms can last for a couple of weeks but usually don't require a doctor's visit.
"That said, if you have a really tight, barky cough; difficulty breathing; any weird-sounding breathing, things that sound like wheezes, we like to take a peek," Dr. McNally said.
When in doubt: call. Nurses can help determine if you need an appointment.
Doctor McNally says that even with these guidelines, parents should trust their instincts. If your gut tells you something is not right - call. Also, call right away if your child is showings signs of the flu.
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