When to Seek Medical Help

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Everywhere we look people are sick this time of year. When my boys are under the weather, I want to be sure to nurse them back to good health as quickly as possible. After all, no Mom wants to see her children sick, yet sometimes it’s not easy to know when to take your child to see his doctor or when to just wait it out. Dr. Debbie gives us common reasons to seek medical attention this time of year.

Breathing Trouble
Seek medical attention if your child is having trouble breathing. Signs of breathing difficulty include breathing fast and hard, sucking in the skin around his ribs, flaring his nostrils, pushing his belly in and out, grunting or blue discoloration of lips or mouth.

Dehydration
Seek medical attention if your child is dehydrated. Dehydration symptoms include not drinking enough liquids to have at least 2-3 wet diapers each day, a sunken in soft spot on infants, dry mouth and no tears, acts lethargic, has a capillary refill greater than 3-4 seconds (this is the number of seconds it takes for skin to get color again after it’s pushed in with your thumb), or has so much watery diarrhea that you just can’t keep up with it. If your child’s vomiting seems to be on-going, you may need to seek medical attention, as persistent vomiting may lead to dehydration.

Vomiting Blood or Bile
If you find your child is vomiting blood or bile, seek medical attention. You know your child is throwing up bile when the liquid is a shockingly bright green.

Persistent Fever
If your child has a fever that will not respond to appropriate doses of Tylenol or Motrin, seek medical attention. Additionally, if your child has a fever that persists for more than five days, take him in.

Suspicion of Strep Throat
Seek medical attention if your child has a severe sore throat with headache, fever, tummy ache and/or vomiting, and you are suspicious of strep throat. Although symptoms could also be viral, strep is something that needs to be treated with medication, so medical attention may be necessary.

Abdominal Pain
If your child has severe abdominal pain, focused more on the right side, with or without vomiting and fever, seek medical attention.

Mom’s Instinct
You know your child best. If you are worried or feel the instinct, seek medical attention.

Please note: this post is for informational use only. Please consult your pediatrician or family physician for professional medical advice specific to your child.

Dr. Debbie is a board-certified pediatrician currently practicing part time at a children’s urgent care facility. As a wife and Mom of three boys and one princess, she stays busy managing her home and juggling her kids’ crazy schedules. She brings to us more than eight years of medical practice as well as nine years as a Mom. If we’re really lucky, in addition to her medical wisdom, one day we may get her to divulge her secrets to making exquisite caramel apples.

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