Parents of young children are often faced with difficult decisions about when to seek the advice of a doctor. Babies are incapable of explaining what is wrong. Children often have no framework on which to explain the severity of a health condition. Doctors face similar difficulties in treating children. Children are often the victims of medical malpractice and are in a poor position to defend themselves or seek compensation. The question of whether or not to take your child to a doctor may always be anxiety-ridden, but there are a few symptoms to be on the lookout for in making that determination.
A child older than one should be taken to a doctor if he or she develops a high fever. The majority of pediatricians advise parents not to treat a fever under 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Children should be taken to a doctor if they develop a major headache. A headache that persists for several hours or reaches an intensity level so high the child stops eating or cannot relax is a serious sign. Any headache that is accompanied by neurological symptoms, including dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, or loss of coordination should cause you to seek immediate medical attention for your child. Likewise, fever, vomiting and stiff necks combined with a headache are a troubling sign that need to be evaluated by a doctor.
A stiff neck is a symptom associated with meningitis, which is a life threatening medical emergency. That health condition often presents itself with fever, stiff neck, headache and a sensitivity to light. Meningitis must be identified and treated quickly.
Widespread rashes, particularly those that spread beyond the arms or feet can be dangerous signs and should be looked at by doctors. Finally, severe stomach problems that lead to repeated bouts of vomiting and/or diarrhea are concerning symptoms that could lead to dehydration. Children suffering from any of these conditions should be taken to a doctor for treatment. This is far from an exhaustive list of when you should seek medical attention for your child, but it is a start. Remember, when taking your child to a doctor, it is important to ask lots of questions and monitor the situation carefully. You are the advocate for your child’s health. You are the person who cares most about the quality of care your child receives. An active patient advocate can prevent serious medical mistakes.
Source: AZFamily, “Sick kid? Never ignore these 5 symptoms,” by Dr. Art Mollen, 4 June 2013