Signs that indicate that your child should see the family doctor include:
A child with a temperature under 38.5 C (101.5 F) usually does not have a bacterial infection and so does not need an antibiotic. Fever over 38.5 C may be caused by bacterial infection such as strep throat, ear infection, or urinary tract infection. In this case, your child likely needs an antibiotic.
If your child is not urinating well or tearing up, treatment for dehydration may be needed.
Constipation can result from not eating well, a blockage in the bowel or something else. A lack of bowel movements along with vomiting can be caused by something worse than constipation alone. Your doctor should investigate.
Diarrhea can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, food poisoning or food that does not agree with your child. If the diarrhea does not stop within 24 hours, see your family doctor. If you breastfeed your baby, keep nursing. If your baby no longer breast-feeds and has diarrhea, try a soy based formula. A BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) is a good choice for children who eat solid foods. Make sure your child is getting enough to drink!
If the crying or crankiness won’t stop, the problem may be something you cannot see – a headache, pulled muscle, broken bone or something more serious. Try your regular comfort measures, such as giving pain medication, using ice or heat. If you cannot soothe your child, it’s time to see the family doctor.
Suspect a problem if your child is playing less or not at all, is not eating or drinking as usual, or sleeps badly or too much. Does crying come when you drive over a bump in the road? Watch to see if your child is limping or favoring a body part, and visit the doctor if this is the case.
Falling for no reason, poor coordination, or limping could suggest seizures, tumours or infection. Please have your child checked by your family doctor.
If you are ever worried or unsure of what a child’s behaviour or symptoms mean, see your family doctor. It is always safer to get medical help sooner than later.