Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

When should you call the pediatrician?

        Health | Family Care

sick child
BananaStock/Thinkstock
When should you call the doctor?

Which symptoms warrant a call to your child's doctor?

When a child gets sick, parents are understandably concerned. Many parents aren't sure whether or not to call the doctor when their child is showing signs of illness. Some symptoms can be harmless, but some need to be reported to a doctor immediately. Here's a list of symptoms that warrant a call to your child's pediatrician.

  • High fever
    • Any child less than 90 days old with a fever should be examined by a physician right away, to rule out a serious infection (unless there was a DPT shot in the previous 24 hours).
    • Children under 6 months of age with a fever should be examined by a physician within 24 hours.
    • Children under age 2 should be seen if the fever lasts more than 48 hours.
    • Children of any age who have a fever over 105 degrees should be seen immediately.
  • Chills that make the child shake all over
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Extreme sleepiness or unexplained lethargy
  • Unusual excitement or hysterical crying
  • Sudden weakness or paralysis of any part of the body
  • Seizures (convulsions) or uncontrollable shaking of an arm or leg
  • Severe headache
  • Pain, heaviness, or stuffiness around the nose, eyes, or forehead
  • Nasal fluid that is discolored, bad-smelling, or bloody
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Earache
  • Fluid discharge from the ear
See the next page for more symptoms that warrant a call to the doctor.

More to Explore