It can be hard to know whether you should take your child to the doctor or not when he or she is experiencing cold symptoms, and there are times you should and times this really is not necessary. Here are three factors to consider if you are struggling with this decision right now.
First of all, does he or she have a fever? When a fever is present, it typically means the child has an infection. The body's way of fighting an infection is with a fever. If your child is sick with cold symptoms, start by taking his or her fever. If it is a low fever, you may want to wait a day or two before calling the doctor. If the fever is high, around 102 degrees F or higher, you may want to call the doctor.
The second thing to evaluate is the symptoms your child is having. If the symptoms are just a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes, it is most likely a cold. Doctors do not treat colds with antibiotics, simply because antibiotics are only useful for bacterial infections. Colds are considered viral infections. They must run their course in order to go away, and this can often take several weeks.
If your child is having muscle aches, cannot get out of bed, and will not eat, you might want to consider calling the doctor. These are all signs of the flu, and the flu can be treated with medication if it is detected at an early stage.
Another symptom to look for is a sore throat. Your child may have a sore throat with a cold, but a sore throat can also represent strep throat or another type of infection. If you see white or red spots on his or her throat, you should call the doctor to have your child examined. If your child has a really bad headache, you should also plan on visiting the doctor soon.
One final thought
If you are not really sure if your child has just a cold or something more serious, it is usually better to play it safe by making an appointment. If your child does have a bacterial infection or something that is serious, it will be easier to treat it if the doctor diagnoses it sooner rather than later.
Taking a child to the pediatrician is the best way to find out what is wrong with your child. To learn more, contact a pediatric clinic like Kitsap Children's Clinic LLP.Share