We hate when our little ones are sick. No matter how often we diffuse essential oils or give them vitamins, these things happen. Here are some things you can look for when determining if you should go to the doc, monitor at home, or go to urgent care.
It was the day my son was born that my daughter was hospitalized.
I’d delivered my 10-pounder and we were all cooing over him when my daughter started acting lethargic. Then she was burning up. Then a nurse came in to look at my 10-pounder and said she needed to go immediately to the ER with that fever.
I’d tell you what her temperature was but it was in Celsius so it meant nothing to me at the time. Bad American in Australia. I could tell by their faces that it was very high.
“It’s so good you brought her in,” the nurse said, “always err on the side of caution with little ones.”
She ended up in the hospital for 3 days with a severe UTI. At 13 months… I am so thankful we were already in the hospital when the fever came on because – to be honest – I might not have brought her to the ER.
By this point I’d gone to the doctor numerous times to be given a “paranoid mom” look and told to go home.
After that, I decided I’d just go in if I wanted to and if a doctor gave me a look, well, I’d give them a look back. Even if I knew to expect the dreaded phrase…
“It’s viral, it’ll pass.”
I’d hear it from their lips.
What To Treat At Home Vs. Going To The Doc
After having 5 kids and millions of doctors visits and 3 dozen ear aches and fevers… here is what the medical professionals have told me over and over.
Fevers Alone… Treat And Watch
If your child has a low grade fever, doctors and nurses don’t usually recommend rushing right off. Rather, they want you to watch it, use natural methods to bring fever down or give your child some type of medicinal fever reducer.
For babies, toddlers, and preschoolers it can be hard to get a good temperature reading, particularly through the night.
Fevers often peak around the 11:00 pm hour. This has something to do with the body’s hormone secretion pattern. Don’t ask me anything else, I studied Liberal Arts.
Anyway, my children tend to get high fevers at night and this causes me Evening Anxiety because every time I roll over I must go and check their forehead before I can fall back asleep.
You can keep track of your baby’s temperature on your phone without having to wake them up. Though no substitute for parental supervision, it’ll send temperature alerts to you throughout the night for your own peace of mind.
Then, if fever remains high, doesn’t respond to medicine, and is accompanied by any symptoms that distress you go in immediately.
Breathing Trouble… Go In Now
Two weeks ago my son was very sick. Chest cough, croup, and wheezing.
We were out of state at a wedding and everyone who heard him said, “You need to take him into the doctor immediately.”
Well, we did and turns out he had a bronchial infection and was prescribed very strong antibiotics.
Here are some symptoms we should take seriously:
- hacking cough
- wet breathing
- difficulty breathing
- using neck, chest, and abdominal muscles to breathe
These symptoms coupled with a fever and lethargy are a Forget What You’re Doing > Go In situation.
Has Everyone Else Had It?
With 5 kids very close in age, this is something I ask myself monthly. If someone is acting crazy, running a low grade fever, or throwing up and they got it from their brother… I won’t necessarily run off to the doctor.
A 24 hour bug that actually stays in our home for 253 hours by the time we’re done may just need to run its course.
Doctors don’t give you anything if it’s viral, so only if viral has turned into a bacterial infection will antibiotics be necessary. Also, I’ve found doctors act irritated if they think you’re showing up begging for drugs. I’ve had to say,
“Look, I’m not just asking for antibiotics, I want to know why this is recurring”
to get some actual real life discussion. Changed doctors shortly after that.
Do You Have “A Feeling?”
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein
When my daughter was 13 months old, shortly after she’d been released from the hospital, she began to get extremely cranky and fussy. I remembering phoning my mother and saying, “My baby hates me.” What can I say? I’m a Confident + Take Charge Mom and we tends towards melodrama.
She had a runny nose, developed a very raw rash on her face, and was beside herself. Doctors were, surprisingly, no help. I *knew* it was not viral, though I didn’t know what was wrong.
Finally after a lot of thought I realized the irritability and rash came on gradually as we weaned her from breast milk to cow’s milk. We switched to goat milk and within 5 days she was back to her happy self.
Moral of the story: Listen to your intuition.
Is It Friday?
In Australia, this question didn’t matter so much. All our local doctor’s offices were open for the weekend, or at least on Saturday. Here in the States, not so much. If it’s Friday morning early and your baby is sick then you best go in because otherwise, even if it get worse, you’re waiting until Monday morning to get seen.