Symptom #1: A fever that is 100.4 degrees F or higher in a baby younger than 4 months; higher than 101 degrees F in a baby 3 to 6 months; or higher than 103 degrees F in a child 6 months to 2 years. Infants under 3 months old need immediate medical care if fever rises to 100.4 degrees F. In kids older than 2, fevers aren’t urgent as long as your child appears to be well hydrated and acting normal.
Symptom #2: A fever that hasn’t gone down with treatment, or that has lasted more than five days. If the number of the thermometer doesn’t budge within four to six hours of giving your child an acetaminophen like ibuprofen, call you pediatrician. This is a sign that the infection may be too strong for the body to fight off, and your doctor may want to do a thorough examination to determine the cause. A typical virus like the cold or flu typically goes away after 5 days. If it hangs on longer, it may be caused by an infection like bacterial pneumonia, which requires antibiotic treatment.
Symptom #3: A fever that’s accompanied by a stiff neck or headache or rash that’s either bruise-like or looks like tiny red dots. Call you doctor immediately as these may be signs of meningitis.
Symptom #4: A rash that resembles a bull’s-eye or consists of tiny red dots that don’t disappear when you press the skin, or excessive bruising. A ring-shaped rash with a pale spot in the center can signify Lyme disease. Call your doctor right away. Bruising may be a sign of a possible blood disorder. A splotchy rash, often a little raised, may be a sign of an allergic reaction.
Symptom #5: A mole that is new or changing/ This may be a sign of potential skin cancer. Any moles that a child has had since birth have a higher risk of becoming malignant. Alert your doctor if you notice that a mole is oddly shaped.
Symptom #6: Stomach pain that’s on the lower right side, or that’s sudden and crampy and comes and goes. This may be a sign of appendicitis. Call your pediatrician right away.
Symptom # 7: A headache that occurs in the early morning or wakes her up in the middle of the night, or that’s accompanied by vomiting. These could be signs of a migraine. Your doctor can determine the appropriate treatment.
Symptom #8: Dry mouth and lips, decreased urination, a flat fontanelle (in an infant), dry skin or skin that stays bunched when you pinch it, or excessive vomiting or diarrhea. These are all signs associated with dehydration and need to be treated fast because dehydration can lead to shock. Call 911 or get to the hospital immediately.
Symptom #9: Blueness or discoloration around the mouth, labored breathing where you can see your child sucking in his chest or abdomen; or panting, grunting, or a whistling sound when breathing. These may be signs of serious breathing problems associated with choking, an allergic reaction, an asthma attack, pneumonia, whooping cough, or croup. Seek help right away or call 911.
Symptom #10: Swollen tongue, lips or eyes, especially when accompanied by vomiting or itchiness. These signs are often signals of a serious allergic reaction. Call 911 and if possible, give your child a shot from an EpiPen.
Symptom #11: A fall when your child is less than 6 months old, or has obvious neurological changes like confusion or loss of consciousness, or that causes vomiting and/or any damage to the body, such as broken bones. These situations require immediate attention. Go to the hospital right away.
Symptom #12: A cut that gapes open widely enough that you could stick a cotton swab in it, or that doesn’t stop bleeding within a few minutes after pressure is applied. These are signs that your child needs medical attention, and perhaps stiches.