When to Call the Doctor: 8 Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

2. Dehydration: Dehydration can be very serious. A child who is vomiting and having diarrhea may become dehydrated quickly. In addition some children with illnesses that cause a sore throat will stop drinking, which could ultimately lead to dehydration. It is important to try to hydrate your child with clear liquids slowly but consistently when they are sick (see above). The signs of dehydration include urine production less than three times in a day, headache, lethargy, a sunken fontanel (soft spot on the head of infants) and dry lips or tongue. Any of these symptoms warrants a trip to the doctor's office.

3. Fever: A fever of 100.4 degrees or more in any newborn under six weeks of age should be considered a medical emergency and requires calling the physician immediately. In children older than six weeks, a fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees) is often helpful in fighting an infection and may not present the same urgency for medical intervention. While the actual height of the fever is not always critical, the way the child is behaving is very important. If a fever-reducing medicine (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) is given, and your child is still fussy, whining, crying or lethargic an hour later, a physician should be seen immediately even if the fever was only 100.5 degrees. On the other hand, if the child is interactive and will engage in some activity after a higher fever is reduced with medication, waiting a few days before seeing the doctor will not hurt. If a fever persists more than 72 hours, you should always call your doctor.

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