When to Call a Doctor

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When to Call a Doctor

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When you’ve got a sick child on your hands, it’s a tough call to decide whether or not you can handle it on your own. You want to be sure that you’re doing all the right things, at all the right times.In general, call your pediatrician if:

  • Your child is unusually fussy, sleepy, cranky, or quiet.

  • Your child appears very sick.

  • You are unable to lower your child's fever or your child develops other serious symptoms.

  • The fever goes away for more than 24 hours and then returns.

  • Your child has a fever for more than 72 hours.

  • Your child is younger than 3 months with a rectal temperature of more than 100.1° F.

  • Your child is 3 to 6 months with a rectal temperature of more than 101° F.

  • Your child is 6 to 12 months with a rectal temperature of more than 103° F.

  • Your child has a history of febrile seizures.

You also should call if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Your child acts confused or sees/hears things that aren't there.

  • Your child has a stiff neck (unable to touch chin to chest).

  • Your child has trouble breathing.

  • Your child has ear or sore-throat pain.

  • Your child has a seizure (arms and legs jerk uncontrollably).

  • Your child has a skin rash.

  • Your child cries inconsolably.

  • Your child is difficult to awaken.

Learn more about when to seek medical attention.