Cold and flu season is here. If you've got kids, you're probably prepared for a few sick days. Most seasonal bugs will go through your kids in a day or two, without medical assistance being necessary. However, there are some bugs that will attach themselves to your kids and not let go. It can be tough to tell when it's time to head to the doctor. The last thing you want to do is risk exposing your child to a serious illness by heading to the doctor too soon. Unfortunately, waiting too long can be risky too, especially if your child has something more serious than the common cold. Here are three ways to tell that it's time to head to the doctor.
Watch the Cough
Coughs can sometimes sound worse than they really are, especially if your child is severely congested. One way to tell whether your child needs medical attention is to watch their belly during a coughing spell. If your child's cough is causing labored breathing, their belly will cave in. If you can see your child's ribs while they're coughing, or if their belly sucks in, it's time to head to the doctor. This is particularly true if your child's lips are turning blue or if their skin becomes pale during a coughing spell. These signs mean your child is having trouble breathing while they're coughing.
Take Their Temperature
If your child's cough is accompanied by a fever that lasts more than a couple of days, it's time to call the doctor. Most fevers will break after a day or two. However, fevers that hang on may be a sign of an infection. Give your child a dose of children's fever reducer. If the fever doesn't break, contact your family doctor as soon as possible.
Monitor Their Fluid Intake
While your child is sick, it's important for them to continue drinking plenty of water. Even a minor illness can turn into something worse if your child becomes dehydrated. Try offering water throughout the day. If they begin showing signs of dehydration, you'll need to get them to the doctor. Here are the signs you should be aware of:
- A decrease in urine output
- Urine that is bright yellow or orange
- Skin that looks like crepe or doesn't return to shape after being pinched together
Don't take chances with seasonal illnesses. If your child is exhibiting any of the signs described here, it's time to take your child to the family doctor.