As you become intimately familiar with your child’s body signals and behavior when healthy, you will be more aware of your child’s signs of illness. Linda White, MD, counsels parents to contact the doctor if your ill child:
- Has a fever over 104 degrees, or a fever accompanied by chills or excessive sweating.
- Appears unusually limp, apathetic, or difficult to awaken.
- Complains of severe pain.
- Has a bulging fontanel (soft spot) with a very strong pulse (a sign of meningitis). A healthy fontanel should not sink in or protrude, and the pulse should be regular but not especially strong.
- Has had diarrhea or been vomiting for more than a day and appears dehydrated (signs of dehydration include loss of skin elasticity, going eight hours without urinating, dry lips, sunken eyes, or a sunken fontanel).
- Has problems with balance or coordination, or numbness in any area.
- Has difficulty breathing.
- Loses consciousness.
- Has not improved after three days of home treatment.
- Is under two months old.