Skip to content

    Health & Baby

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    When to Call the Pediatrician

    Fever continued...

    But there are times you should call your pediatrician if your child has a fever:

    Your baby is under the age of 2 or 3 months. Get in touch with the doctor if he has any fever at all, even a temperature as low as 100.4 degrees.

    "Because they have a less-mature immune system, an infection in a child that young can be a sign of something more serious," such as bacterial meningitis or pneumonia, Mendelson says.

    Your baby is older than 3 months and also has other symptoms. If he's weak or vomiting in addition to a high temperature, check with the pediatrician. Same goes if his fever lasts for more than 3 days, Mendelson says.

    Your child has a high fever. The American Academy of Pediatrics says to call your pediatrician right away if your child's temperature repeatedly goes above 104 degrees. That's especially important if he has other symptoms, such as a rash, trouble breathing, difficulty waking, persistent vomiting, or diarrhea.

    When you do call your doctor, be prepared to answer these questions:

    • What's your child's temperature?
    • When did you last take it?
    • How long has he had the fever?
    • Does he have any other symptoms?

    Vomiting or Diarrhea

    If it's a single episode, there's no need to worry. If either persists, though, then dehydration becomes a concern, says Ashanti W. Woods, MD, attending pediatrician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. 

    "To prevent dehydration, be sure to give him fluids regularly," he says.

    Call your pediatrician if your child's symptoms become more severe or last for more than a few hours.

    Also call if he can't keep fluids down and shows signs of dehydration. Your pediatrician will examine him and may order blood and urine tests or X-rays to make a diagnosis. If your child looks sick, the symptoms aren't improving with time, or the doctor suspects a bacterial infection, he may take a stool sample and send it to a lab to get tested.

    Coughs, Colds, and Other Respiratory Problems

    Older children with a cold usually don't need to see the doctor. If your baby is 3 months or younger, though, you should call your pediatrician at the first sign of illness, since colds can quickly turn into something more serious -- like bronchiolitis, croup, or pneumonia.

    When your child is older than 3 months, call the pediatrician if:

    • He's having trouble breathing.
    • He's got a stuffy nose for more than 10 days or a cough that lasts more than a week.
    • His ear hurts.

    Baby's First Year Newsletter

    Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

    Today on WebMD

    mother on phone holding baby
    When you should call 911.
    parents and baby
    Unexpected ways your life will change.
     
    baby acne
    What’s normal – and what’s not.
    baby asleep on moms shoulder
    Help your baby get the sleep he needs.
     

    mother holding baby at night
    ARTICLE
    mother with sick child
    QUIZ
     
    Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
    SLIDESHOW
    Track Your Babys Vaccines
    TOOL
     
    Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
    Slideshow
    Mother with her baby boy
    Article
     
    baby in crib
    Slideshow
    baby gear slideshow
    Slideshow