When to Call the Doctor if Your Infant or Toddler is Sick
Before calling your doctor, make sure to have a pen and paper to write down any instructions he or she might give.
When you call the doctor, have the following information on hand:
- Your baby’s immunization records
- The names and doses of any medications, prescription and over-the-counter, your baby takes
- Any medical problems your baby may have
- His or her temperature
Signs of Illness in Newborns
- Excessive drowsiness can be hard to spot in a newborn since most sleep so much. But if you suspect your infant is sleepier than normal or less active, call your doctor. Sometimes this could mean there is an infection present in a baby’s system.
- Eye problems can be caused by blockage of one or both tear ducts. Normally the ducts open on their own before too long, but sometimes they remain clogged, which can cause mucus-like tearing of the eyes. The white discharge can crust up on a baby’s eyes, making it difficult to open them, and the blockage can lead to infection. If you suspect an eye infection, such as pink-eye (conjunctivitis), call your baby’s doctor immediately. If your baby has an infection, the doctor will need to examine him or her and may prescribe special drops and a special method of cleaning your baby’s eyes with sterile water.
- Fever in a newborn (temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit rectally) should be reported to your doctor right away.
- Extreme floppiness or jitters in a baby could be a sign of underlying problems. Report them to your doctor immediately.
- A runny nose can make it difficult for a baby to breathe, especially when he’s feeding. You can help ease your baby’s discomfort by using a rubber bulb aspirator to gently suction mucus from his nose. Be sure to call your doctor – even a common cold can be dangerous for a newborn.
While breast-fed newborns generally have loose, mustard-colored stools, very loose and watery stools could indicate illness. The danger here for a baby is dehydration, which can show up as a dry mouth and a noticeable reduction in urine output (fewer than six wet diapers in 24 hours). Call us if your newborn’s stools seem watery or loose or if they often occur at other times besides after feeding.
Signs of Infection in Infants and Children Under Age 2
Since infections can be especially dangerous in a child this young, call your doctor immediately if your child develops any of these symptoms:
- poor feeding
- poor color
- weak cry
- rectal temperature of at least 100.4°F
- breathing problems
- unusual fussiness
- sleeping more than usual
- vomiting or diarrhea
Fevers in Newborns and Infants
Under 3 months: Any fever of 100.4°F or higher, even if he shows no other symptoms of illness. If the fever develops after office hours or on a weekend, go to the emergency room. Infants have a limited ability to fight illness because their immune system isn’t fully developed. Infants can’t tell you if they are really sick and there are some serious bacterial infections that they are more prone to, like kidney infections, blood stream, and pneumonia.
3 to 6 months: A fever of 101°F or higher.
Over 6 months: A fever 103°F or higher.
Call your doctor immediately if a child of any age has a fever measuring between 104ºF (40.0ºC) and 105ºF (40.6ºC).
The Pediatric Center of Round Rock is open 7 days a week. Our weekend hours are available for current patients only. Call us at (512) 733-5437 or click here to learn more.