When To Take Your Child To A Pediatrician
As a parent or guardian, it can break your heart to see your child getting sick. You might solve some of your kid’s health issues using home remedies, but you might encounter a time when you need to take your child to a pediatrician. So, it should be in your best interest to continue reading to know the signs when to take your little loved one to a pediatrician.
A fever might not be harmful, contrary to what some people might think. It’s the body’s defense mechanism, trying to use energy and resources for protection against invading pathogens.
Some symptoms of fever (regardless of age) are:
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
But, perhaps, the most apparent sign of fever is the rise of internal body temperature above normal levels. The body’s temperature should be below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). If it goes higher than that number, then, the body feels the adverse effects of a fever.
Although a fever might not be the reason for an illness, it usually means that the body is fighting a harmful agent. In other words, a fever is a sign of an underlying health issue. This scenario can also be true for children.
Kids may contract fever because of the following reasons:
- Infection: Some children don’t have strong immune systems. In turn, their bodies try to combat pathogens more often than adults.
- Hot environments: Kids, particularly infants and newborns, may acquire fever if their parents over-bundle them. It’s because a child’s body may not be able to regulate temperature as efficiently as an adult.
- Immunization: Children may also experience fevers after getting vaccinated.
If your child experiences fever and their temperature is roughly about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, then, it might not be a cause for worry. Some cases may allow the fever to subside after adequate rest and hydration.
But, take your child to a pediatrician if their temperature reaches beyond 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 degrees Celsius). The doctor can diagnose the child’s overall condition, especially when other symptoms, like dehydration, begin to surface.
First-time parents or guardians might find it challenging to check if their kids have a fever. Some children wouldn’t sit still upon the sight of a thermometer. If you’re unsure, you can use an online symptom checker, like the tool in ifpeds.com.
Vaccination or immunization is a process of boosting a person’s immune functions. A medical professional injects a strain of a pathogen or virus into the body, causing the immune system to react. Think of this process as giving your antibodies “homework”.
Hence, if the same harmful substance tries to attack the body again, the antibodies should defend it against those pathogens or viruses. But, always remember that only doctors or medical professionals should administer vaccines, particularly for your children.
Using immunization kits on your kids without the advice or supervision of a pediatrician is a recipe for disaster. See a pediatrician for your little ones if you want them to receive immunizations.
If, by any chance, you’re unsure about getting your child vaccinated, your kid will acquire special health benefits from the procedure. It’s because vaccines can help:
- Prevent diseases
- Keep your child as healthy as possible
- Increase protection against life-threatening illnesses
- Prevent costly medical operations
Moreover, the entire household is at risk of getting sick if your child becomes ill, especially if the condition is contagious. For example, the average influenza virus can last for about 15 days in a particular location.
Now, your child can become “Patient Zero” in your household. If other household members don’t have immunization against this disease, then, other people in the vicinity may soon feel flu symptoms.
Remember, your child should feel comfortable when visiting the pediatrician for a vaccine injection. Don’t scare the kid by saying things, like, “Behave or you’ll go to the doctor’s office.” Scare tactics don’t tend to work on children, and your kid might even be at risk of developing trauma.
Instead, tell your little one that the pain or discomfort is only going to take a few seconds. Calm them down by saying that it’s going to be for their own well-being, and so they won’t become sick. Remember that stretching the truth can only do so much. An emotional scar might develop once the infant or toddler knows the truth.
- Digestive Issues
Like adults, many children are susceptible to digestive problems. Perhaps, your little one is a picky eater. Otherwise, they might always want a piece of food between their teeth. Although many kids have relatively predictable eating patterns, childhood stomachaches can still happen.
Many cases of digestive issues in children shouldn’t warrant a trip to the pediatrician. Some cases, such as tummy aches, tend to be mild and will pass after a few hours. But, some instances exist when you need to pay a visit to the pediatrician as soon as possible. These issues include:
Children may vomit for several reasons, including motion sickness, food poisoning, or viral infection. Some kids may even throw up if they eat too much or become over-excited.
However, vomiting might also be a symptom of an underlying disease, such as appendicitis, meningitis, or intestinal blockages. Contact your pediatrician immediately if your child vomits more than once. Also, consult the advice of your child’s doctor if blood or bile exists in their puke.
- Abdominal Pain
If your child complains that their stomach area aches, the discomfort could be abdominal pain. The issue may stem from food allergies, intestinal obstruction, or pneumonia. But, it might also be as mild as bloating or cramping.
Consult your pediatrician if the abdominal pain doesn’t disappear after one or two weeks. Do the same process if the discomfort felt by your little one seems to be severe that they’re having trouble standing or sitting with a proper posture.
- Constipation And Diarrhea
A low-fiber diet, lack of fluids, or stressful potty training sessions can lead to constipation. On the other hand, food poisoning and viruses, like salmonella, can cause diarrhea.
Remember to always consult your pediatrician if your child either feels constipated or suffers from loose bowel movement. Also, consider seeking the advice of your kid’s doctor if your little one experiences symptoms like:
- No bowel movement every other day
- Blood in the stool
- Additional pushing is needed during bowel movements
- Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
GERD may not be as common in adults as in kids. Children, especially those who are very young, usually suffer from GERD or acid reflux.
This digestive illness tends to get better over time. Also, some quick fixes for mild GERD may only require the avoidance of eating trigger foods, like chocolate and peppermint.
But, call a pediatrician if your child complains severe discomfort or pain during GERD attacks. Also, consider paying a visit to the doctor if GERD lowers the quality of life of your little one.
- Respiratory Problems
Respiratory issues are relatively common in many children. But, these health concerns can become serious issues if left untreated.
Some respiratory problems that may require the professional medical help of a pediatrician include:
- Common Cold
Also called an upper respiratory infection, the common cold is one of the reasons many children have to miss school. This respiratory illness tends to have mild to intermediate symptoms of influenza. But, a slight risk of secondary pneumonia exists, albeit it’s relatively low.
Some symptoms of the common cold are:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Don’t give your child over-the-counter cough and cold medicines, especially medications meant for adults. It’s because children, particularly those under two years old, may experience potentially dangerous side effects from taking these drugs. These adverse effects include increased heart rate, convulsion, and, worse, death.
Asthma is a respiratory condition characterized by the narrowing down and swelling of airways. Some asthma cases may create an overproduction of mucus, causing difficulty in breathing.
Cases of this particular respiratory condition can range from mild to severe. Mild asthma cases may only require the person to breathe into a paper bag to gain relief. But, serious cases may lead to life-threatening scenarios as the patient might be trying to grasp for air.
No cure is available for asthma at the time of writing, but the symptoms are manageable with the correct procedures. Moreover, this respiratory ailment may start as early as five years old.
If you see your child suffering from symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, and wheezing during exhaling, visit your pediatrician. The medical professional for children can help diagnose if your kid has this respiratory issue. Also, the pediatrician can monitor asthma after diagnosis.
Bronchitis is a respiratory concern that knows no age. Adults and children can contract this health complication.
This health issue is an inflammation of the bronchi, which are the large breathing pipes in the lungs. Bronchitis tends to come from a virus, which develops and spreads in the lungs. Also, this illness may develop after your child has a cold or flu, as these ailments may cause your kid’s immune functions to weaken.
Moreover, it can be easy to misjudge asthma from bronchitis since both conditions have similar symptoms. Hence, you must consult the advice of a pediatrician so you can give your child the correct medications.
Contact a pediatrician immediately if you think your child has pneumonia. This infection inflames the air sacs in either one or both lungs.
Like asthma and other respiratory conditions, pneumonia’s effects can range from mild to life-threatening. But, this particular illness is especially dangerous for infants and young children because their immune functions might still be developing.
Some symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Chest pain during breathing or coughing
- Incessant coughing
- Fever and chills
- Lower-than-normal body temperature
Pneumonia can come from different sources, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Also, the symptoms may develop after your child contracts other illnesses, like the common cold, flu, or strep throat.
If the cause of pneumonia is bacteria, your pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics for your child. Conversely, if the source is a virus, the pediatrician may prescribe antiviral medicine instead. Nonetheless, your little one needs to drink lots of fluids and take plenty of rest for them to feel better.
Rashes are never a good sign and can warrant multiple trips to the pediatrician. Still, childhood rashes are fairly common, but these can be worrisome once they spread throughout different body parts.
Skin rashes might be caused by the following ailments:
Chickenpox is a viral disease that many children tend to catch. Kids below ten years old might be more susceptible to this condition than older individuals.
This particular condition results in itchy spots across the various areas of the skin. The crusts form scabs over time, and your little one mustn’t scratch these formations to avoid permanent scarring.
Chickenpox doesn’t have a specific treatment. But, your child’s pediatrician may prescribe medicines to relieve the symptoms faster than average.
Eczema is a long-term skin condition that can begin during childhood and can continue into adulthood. This condition tends to develop behind joints, like the elbows and knees. It’s not a serious condition, but eczema can lead to numerous discomforts for your little one.
Measles is a highly contagious and infectious disease that tends to affect children more than adults. You’ll know if your child has this skin condition because of the appearance of reddish-brown blotches on your kid’s body.
Call your pediatrician immediately if your child complains about itchy reddish-brown blotches on their skin. Note that the chances of this condition worsening is low if you quickly react to the situation.
Remember that your little loved one’s health is always of utmost importance. Choose a certified pediatrician to look after your child’s health. The medical professional can help in the management and treatment of various illnesses, as well as in giving relief from various discomforts your child might experience. Some of these health issues may include fever, digestive issues, and respiratory problems. You can also visit your pediatrician for vaccinations to help boost your child’s immune system.