Fall/Winter Illnesses Over The Weekend

  • Posted by Dr. Jay Gordon

I was on call this weekend and received a number of phone calls about winter viruses, fever and coughs.

Sick babies under a few months of age should be discussed with your doctor.

Fever, prolonged cough and decreased breastfeeding or other hydration may not be cause for much alarm in a one-, two- or three-year-old, but a three- or four-month-old with the same signs and symptoms will usually need to be seen by his or her pediatrician.

My phone questions for the parents of toddlers and older kids center on three things: drinking, smiling and playing. Fever gets in the way of these valuable evaluation tools. Lowering the temperature may be the only way to see that your child does not have an illness serious enough to warrant an office visit.

After a long lukewarm bath and probably a dose of either acetaminophen or ibuprofen, your child should smile a little, drink enough to urinate pretty much as usual and play a little. If any of these three are “missing” call your doctor. When all three of these (drinking, smiling and playing) are present, tell your doctor this at the beginning of the phone call. It’s very helpful and allows the focus of the conversation to be about lessening symptoms and making your child more comfortable.

When you’re worried about the way your child looks, the best first step is a phone call rather than a visit to urgent care or an ER.