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Is my child sick?

   There is no foolproof system to tell whether or not your child is seriously ill.  Knowing your child and seeing a change in your child’s behavior is the most important clue.  Although we prefer that you call the office with general questions during office hours, feel free to call us if you are concerned that your child is ill.  Be aware that the doctor may not be able to answer your questions without seeing your child first.


   Fevers indicate that your child’s immune system is fighting an infection.  Fevers are generally not dangerous unless your child is young, has an immunodeficiency, or the fever is very high.  The most important thing to do when your child has a fever is to keep him/her hydrated and monitor for signs of a serious illness.  It is a good sign if your child interacts with you in a normal manner after receiving medication for discomfort.


When should I call the doctor for an appointment?


  • Fever for greater than 3 days in a child over 2 years of age

  • Persistent vomiting and diarrhea

  • Cough that is persistent or getting worse over several days

  • Cuts that may need stitches

  • Limping or not able to move an arm or leg

  • Ear pain or drainage from an ear

  • Severe sore throat or problems swallowing

  • Pain with urination or blood in the urine



When should I call the doctor after hours or seek urgent care?


  • Rectal temperature of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher in a baby less than 2 months old

  • Repeated fever above 104ºF (40ºC) for a child of any age

  • Persistent vomiting and unable to keep sips of replacement fluids down

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Neck stiffness or rash with a fever

  • A cut or burn that is large or deep

  • A serious accident


Tips before calling the doctor after hours


Before you call the doctor, have a pen and paper ready to write down any instructions and questions.  During the call, have your child nearby in case you need to visualize symptoms.  Be prepared to provide information about your child’s health.

  • Fever

If you think your child has a fever, take your child’s temperature before calling.

  • Medical Problems

Remind the doctor if your child has any past medical problems (asthma, seizures, etc.). Your child’s doctor takes care of  many children every day and may not remember your child’s health history.

  • Medication

Be sure to mention if your child is taking any medication including prescription, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products. Please let the doctor know if your child has any allergies to medications.

  • Immunizations

Keep immunization records at hand.  This information may be useful if your child has an injury requiring a tetanus shot.

  • Pharmacy

Have the phone number of a 24-hour pharmacy ready.



When can I look after my child at home?


You can monitor your child at home, even with a fever, as long as your child is:

  • Drinking and eating enough to have a minimum of 4 voids in a 24-hour period

  • Interacting with you in a normal manner

  • Does not appear sick


If your child’s symptoms are not improving or persist, call the office for an appointment.


Call 911 for any life-threatening illness or injury, including:

  • Not breathing (turning blue)

  • Choking

  • Seizure

  • Unconsciousness

  • Profuse bleeding

  • Anaphylactic allergic reaction

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