Isn't it unfortunate that babies don't come with instructions? Any time your precious little one appears to be unwell, it can be a scary period of uncertainty. Is it a problem you can handle at home, or do you need to get in touch with your pediatrician? Here are four common emergencies that would necessitate the call.
Fever is an indication that the body is working to fight off infection, and thus doesn't usually qualify as a medical emergency. But when your baby's temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, it's time to hit the ER! Do note that this reading should be taken rectally; otherwise add one degree to the axillary reading to get a more accurate figure.
We should also highlight that temperature isn't the only pertinent factor. Look out for lethargy, irritability, lack of appetite, and incessant crying. Even if the child's temperature reading hasn't hit the threshold, have a doctor check them out nonetheless. You never know when a serious health concern could be knocking!
A localized rash that doesn't bother your kid isn't exactly a cause for concern. If it doesn't go away after a few days, however, make an appointment with your pediatrician ASAP. Also look out for:
Blistery/bubbly rashes that ooze/weep
Hives on the face
A rash that resembles a bull's eye
These symptoms could indicate an allergic reaction or a more-critical underlying illness.
Diarrhea and Vomiting
Intense vomiting and diarrhea, besides indicating that all is not well with your little one, also puts them at risk of dehydration. You should be particularly concerned if:
The child is crying but not producing tears
Hasn't passed urine in a while, or the urine is dark-colored
Has sunken eyes and/or dry, cracked lips
Once your little one starts moving on their own, you'll naturally want to outfit your home with every safety measure you can think of. But it's just not possible to foresee every possible threat, is it? Falls are common and there are some that should be taken very seriously. Any time a child hits their head during a fall, it's best to err on the side of caution.
That pediatricians are capable of diagnosing a wide range of injuries should come as a relief. And it's something you should never hesitate to take advantage of. Even if the child continues acting normally following a fall or any other accident --- and there are no evident symptoms of injury --- see a doctor nonetheless. Better safe than sorry.
Colds and Coughs
Though not every cold/cough warrants a visit to the ER, it's worth keeping in mind that infants have feebler coping mechanisms. See a doctor if the symptoms seem to be getting worse, or the child's breathing sounds labored. Also look out for irritability and prolonged crying; either could be a sign of a serious respiratory infection.