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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an appointment for tomorrow morning, so my question isn't really for this particular illness. I always feel at such a loss about when to go to the doctor and when to stay at home. I don't want to take DS for every little sniffle, but if he is really sick and has strep throat or something, I don't want to wait too long. Thankfully our pedi is conservative with antibiotics, so I don't worry that he will take something he doesn't need, but I don't want to waste my time and her time if it's just a cold or random viral infection.

Is there a website that says if your child's fever is x for x amount of time, then go? Google is no helping me here!

How do you know when it's time to go to the doctor and when to just wait it out?
 

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In the Dr. Sears baby book, this is pretty well explained. Also, How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor has a pretty good explanations for a variety of illnesses, including how to recognize illnesses that most people vaccinate for. I use these books against each other, as each is a bit too far one direction or another for my tastes.

In general, I do not take my kids to the doctor unless they seem REALLY sick. Believe me, a cold and pneumonia look completely different. Also, my pediatrician gave me guidelines like, fever for three days, any signs of dehydration, coughing for more than a week, OR when mother's sense is that the child is REALLY ill. It's a good time to trust your instinct.
 

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I don't think having a fever for x amount of time or a fever of x degrees is the best way to judge. Unless we are talking about a newborn. In the early weeks I think it is a good idea to be cautious.

I would watch my child for signs of getting worse. Dehydration, labored breathing or not being able to catch a breath when coughing, pain that did not respond to Tylenol, fever that lingers and did not respond to Tylenol, not responding to me (is this listlessness or lethargy...I forget which is which), inconsolable crying, sever headache that does not respond to Tylenol, tightness or swelling in the belly, funky rash that is not a classic one (chicken pox, roseola) ... basically anything that I do not think will run it's course or is not something a home remedy can sooth. For me this basically means a symptom that is going to need some prescription meds or a trip to the emergency room if the office is closed.

It also helps me to be a bit of a detective and think about where the bug came from. If my child's friend or a family member is having the same symptoms than I have some idea what to expect and I am less worried.

If your worried you can always call the doctors office and ask if there is a bug going around or if you should come in. Use your judgment here. I know my doc always says "if there is no improvement in x hours (12 to 24 hours usually) than come on in". That does always not mean my child is in danger if I do not bring him in. I think a doctor might be doing a little CYA with this advice.

I think Dr. Sears's Baby Book has some great guidelines. It also lists common childhood illnesses and the symptoms. It's calmed many of my late night fears.

I wanted to add that the pp is right...trust your Momma instincts. You will know when your child is just not right. I like the How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor book too.
 

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I think the Dr. Sears site does a good job. It will say when to go to the ER, when to page your doctor, when to call the next morning.

My middle son gets croup and there have been a few times where I've been checking Dr. Sears in the middle of the night to determine if we need to take him in.
 

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I agree with trusting your instincts. It's hard to use guidelines for something like that. I've always felt that it's better to go in and find out there's nothing you can do except what you've already been doing, than to wait and maybe end up with a child in the ER because you missed something serious.

Just my two cents...
 

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I agree on instincts, but also experience. Unless we've been sick for more than 3 weeks without showing any signs of improvement, or if something suddenly gets worse we don't go in.

We get colds 1-2 times a year, up until this summer we did not have antibiotics in this house in 5 years. Up until last January we didn't have a flu or stomach bugs for 5 years.

This summer I was SICK. It started Monday morning with a cold, by that night I was feverish. hot but not hot, cold but not cold. Tuesday morning my 9yo made her sisters breakfast & dinner because I couldn't get off the couch. By that afternoon I was feeling better & went to my meeting. I actually took otc cold meds which I couldn't tell you was the last time I took them. I was better on Wed though extremely exhausted & tired, moreso than usual. Thurs I woke up & thought my right tonsil was swollen because I kept choking. when I got up & looked that thing that hangs in the back of my throat was so swollen it was touching my tongue. I had an appt anyhow that day & my dr asked me what I wanted, I said something strong as it was kicking my butt.

I've been sick for just over 2 weeks again. Sore throat that gets alot worse around 10pm making it hard to sleep at night, coughing though that's mostly in the morning, my voice is off, slighly impaired lung function(worse at night). I haven't gone to the dr.

Last year on Christmas day my 5yo was sick. She threw up twice in the night. On Christmas Day she gradually got worse & was running a fever(though the house was freaking HOT), she was not acting herself. She wouldn't eat or if she did it was very little, she wouldn't go & play just wanted to lay around. My mom made DH find a store that was open & get her OTC meds. My bil(who is a RN & PN in training) checked her over thinking she had apendicitis or something, that was after my sister(a RN) checked her out. I didn't take her in & she did fine on the 8hour trip home the next day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the replies!

I'm still undecided to take him in or not. His temperature has been 102 for about 4 days now and got to 103 yesterday. It will come down with Motrin, which I'm only giving him if he's acting miserable. I seem to have caught whatever he has, but I only have a very mild fever and a very runny nose. Anyway, since I have the appointment I will go for the peace of mind. Before making the appointment I spent a lot of time debating so I guess that in of itself may indicate I should take him in.
 

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I struggle with this too. My kids are so rarely sick to the point that they don't feel well (they get allergy symptoms when the weather changes but they seem unaffected and go about their business as usual) . . . when they do get fevers or act droopy, I get really worried. I chalk it up to inexperience -- in six years, they've collectively been that way maybe 3-4 times.

I think we've only gone to the pediatrician a few times for illness. One was strep -- my daughter had the rash and a (slight) sore throat. One was my son being WEIRD, choking on his food for a couple days in a row . . . the doc said he had a sore throat, but no strep and we didnt' need abx. Another time was a fever/cough deal that hung on for more than a couple days. Also no abx, just told it was a cold to wait out.

Go if it will give you peace of mind. That's what the ped is for, IMO.
 

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I usually go by my instincts. If dd has a high fever and it doesn't go down and she has no relief from feeling miserable after an hour or so with ibuprofen, if she throws up several times in a short period of time, or if she is up in the middle of the night crying for a long time because of ear pain I take her in immediately even if it means an ER visit.
 

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My ds is 4 and has never been to the doctor. I would only take him to the GP if I thought he needed antibiotics or something. If he seemed really sick, and I was worried, I would take him straight to A&E and bypass the GP.

Ther is not a lot doctors can do for viral infections and coughs/colds. Those seem to be the most common reason for parents taking their children to GP's.
 

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One thing I look for is if my child starts to get better and then gets worse again. For example, if she has a fever and cold symptoms for a couple of days, and then the cold symptoms continue for a few days, and then the fever comes back and she feels a lot worse. That's usually a sign that a viral infection has turned bacterial. For the initial fever-and-symptoms, I don't go to the pediatrician.

With my ped office I can call and talk to an advice nurse, which I really appreciate. They've been very good about walking me through what to look for after, for example, a head bump hard enough to raise a goose egg. Or when my daughter had a long spell of stomach flu and started refusing fluids, they had both specific suggestions about how to rehydrate her and also specific guidelines for "if you see this, go to the ER."
 

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I ask myself what I expect the dr to DO about it. Do I think she needs abx, or some other kind of rx? Do I suspect her condition/injury is beyond what I can take care of at home? Is there just something weird (rash or whatever) that I simply don't know what it is, and need it identified and to find out if it is serious or not?

I definitely know the feeling of having your baby sick and wanting to FIX it, and the thought crosses to go to the ped.. but then when I stop and think about it, I realize that most of the time that won't really help anything. But if I REALLY don't know what's wrong and need a diagnosis to figure out what the best treatment (medical or home treatment) is, then I take her in. I've taken her in for a suspicious looking sore on her thumb, and NOT taken her in for 2 days of vomiting. Reason being, I had no idea if that sore was a strep or staph infection (which I didn't want to mess around with) or something harmless. And the vomiting, I knew I just needed to give her lots of cuddles, nurse her like crazy (when she started keeping it down, I was sooo engorged!!! lol) and wait for it to pass while watching for dehydration.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mama_mojo View Post
In the Dr. Sears baby book, this is pretty well explained. Also, How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor has a pretty good explanations for a variety of illnesses, including how to recognize illnesses that most people vaccinate for. I use these books against each other, as each is a bit too far one direction or another for my tastes.

In general, I do not take my kids to the doctor unless they seem REALLY sick. Believe me, a cold and pneumonia look completely different. Also, my pediatrician gave me guidelines like, fever for three days, any signs of dehydration, coughing for more than a week, OR when mother's sense is that the child is REALLY ill. It's a good time to trust your instinct.
same here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I kind of doubt anyone is following this thread with rapid attention, but just in case...
:

His pediatrician said that she thinks he just has a bad cold at this point. She did give me a 'script for antibiotics to be filled if he is getting worse after a week. She also told me what to look for, so I feel better. I probably didn't need to go, but it went well and now at least I feel like I know what to be on the look out for.

I will certainly check Dr. Sear's website out. Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post
I ask myself what I expect the dr to DO about it. Do I think she needs abx, or some other kind of rx? Do I suspect her condition/injury is beyond what I can take care of at home? Is there just something weird (rash or whatever) that I simply don't know what it is, and need it identified and to find out if it is serious or not?
I think this is a great point.

btw, many docs have on call services you can call to talk to a doc or nurse to discuss symptoms and whether your child needs urgent care or just more TLC at home. For me, knowing that I can call whenever I need to (middle of the might, saturday afternoon) means that I feel a lot less worry about my boys being sick.

A lot of the reason that advice such as X hours at Y temperature don't really work is because so much depends on the child. A child with many other health issues, an infant, or one who has been sick for a long time, may require more interventionist approach than an older, strong kid with no complications.

So it is important to have a doc who knows your child and his/her medical history. This is also why the parents are absolutely essential - only you know that colds tend to trigger your child's asthma, or that four people in your family get migraines so perhaps your child is getting them too, or the daycare center just announced a case of fifth's disease, or aunt mary's pasta salad tends to make everyone sick.
 

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I've been following along and just had to utilize my "instincts" yesterday. DS got sick last Friday, while at grandma's house (325 miles away). He threw up several times, ran a fever, had diarrhea, was lethargic and had a strange rash on his belly. I figured it was a flu and since he was keeping fluids down and not appearing to get any worse, we were just riding it out.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon, he was still vomiting, still having diarrhea, and the fever was recurring. The problem was that he starting writhing on the bed, clutching his stomach and screaming, at the same time his fever spiked and he suddenly couldn't even keep down water. I knew the chances were slim that it was something like appendicitus or another abdominal thing, but when your child is screaming and sweating and can't be consoled, it is much better to err on the side of caution. I took him to the ER.

It is gastroenteritis which is apparently going around hot and heavy with all the children right now. The intense cramping was because he's been having such bad gut-issues for so many days, and the lower intestines start to spasm. The doc said I may even see a small amount of blood in the stool, but not to panic unless it's an abnormally large amount (of course, all blood in your child's diarrhea looks abnormally large, but I guess I can figure out the difference!).

They gave him an anti-emetic (Zofran) and rehydrated him (he just loved that
) and sent him home, warning me that this is really, really contagious and not to be surprised if the other children come down with it (or myself).

In any case, the point is that my instincts were telling me that my son needed to be seen, and although there isn't much they can do for a stomach bug of this type, the peace of mind was worth the trip. I can't imagine if I hadn't gone because I was questioning the actual need to, and it had been something terrible that was imperative to treat quickly (like appendicitus). I agree with not running to the doc for every sneeze or every throw-up, but I'm more middle-of-the-road with how long to wait in general. If it's me, I won't go in unless I must, but if it's my kids, I want to be safe rather than sorry. That's just me, though. I was sick a LOT as a child and on several occasions, would have been in real trouble without heavy doctor intervention.

I'm glad your little one is getting better, though, KnitLady. My DS seems to be doing better today, too, so maybe we'll all survive the oogies.
 
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