Most parents seem to know instinctively when their child is sickening for something. For example, your child may not be as lively as she usually is, she may refuse her food, and she may be clingy. The problem is that mums and dads can’t always diagnose exactly what’s wrong with their child, nor can they necessarily recognize whether the symptoms are serious.
Calling the Doctor
There are some circumstances, for example after a serious injury, when medical help obviously should be sought immediately. There are, however, many more situations where the seriousness isn’t quite as clear-cut. This is where the worry starts: “Are my child’s symptoms nothing to worry about or are they potentially serious?”
You must remember that most doctors won’t mind if you seek their advice. Always follow your instincts and if you are ever in doubt contact your doctor. If your child’s already undergoing treatment from the doctor and you are worried about his progress call your doctor again. Only take your child to the causality department if you become very worried about their symptoms or if they show any sign of meningitis.
What To Tell Your Doctor
- Your child age.
- Whether your child has a temperature.
- If so, what it is; how long he has had it; have there been fluctuations and, if so, what they were. If your child has a fever, did it come on quickly?
- Are your child’s neck glands swollen?
- Has your child vomited or had diarrhea?
- Has your child suffered from dizziness or blurred vision?
- Has your child had a convulsion? If so, how long did it last?
- Has your child lost consciousness?
- Did your child eat the last meal offered and has he eaten within the past three hours?
What To Expect From Your Doctor
Once the doctor has arrived he should examine your child thoroughly and give you an honest opinion of what’s wrong. If your doctor doesn’t know what’s wrong, he should tell you what further tests are necessary to get a clear diagnosis. He should also advise you on the implications of the illness or condition. If, for example, your child has an acute attack of sinusitis or a middle ear infection, your doctor should tell you that your child may need antibiotics to eradicate it completely.
That said, he should answer all your questions – so persist until you are completely satisfied. If medicine is required, the doctor should give you as much information as possible about what he has prescribed. He should also tell you whether to give it before or after a meal, whether there may be side effects, whether there are any special precautions to take and he should warn you about possible complications and danger signs to look out for.
Things To Ask Your Doctor
If your child has a recurrent condition, such as cold sores or boils, ask your doctor what you can do yourself if you notice any symptoms occurring. You can also ask your doctor for any home nursing tips. If you child has a chronic condition, find out if there is anything you can do at home to help it. for example, with infantile eczema there’s quite a lot you can do, such as adding oil to the bath water, using special soap, gently rubbing in moisturizing ointments and creams, even when the skin is clear. If your child has an infectious disease, ask about the incubation period- could friends be infected too?
When To Pick Up The Phone
These are the circumstances under which you should always call the doctor.
- When the temperature is raised over 39 degrees C.
- Raised temperature with a convulsion, or if your child has had convulsions in the past.
- Raised temperature with a stiff neck and headache.
- Temperature below 35 degrees C with cold skin, drowsiness, quietness and listlessness.
- When diarrhea lasts longer than six hours.
- Diarrhea accompanied by pain in the abdomen, temperature or other obvious signs of illness.
- Vomiting that lasts longer than six hours.
- Prolonged, violent vomiting.
- Nausea plus dizziness and headaches.
- Nausea and vomiting accompanied by right-sided pain in the abdomen.
- If your child breathing is labored and his ribs draw in sharply with each breath.