Fair   45.0F  |  Forecast »

Signs of Childhood Illness

Is it allergies? A cold? Or more?

Parental instincts tell you when something's wrong, but there are some solid indicators that your child is sick. Remember that the severity of the symptom and what accompanies it will determine what to do next, says Dr. Marie Lozon, M.D., director of children's emergency services at the University of Michigan Health System. Here's a run-down of the classic signs and what they mean.

1. Fever. Occurs when the oral temperature is above normal, or 99.5 F (the average is 98.6). Low-grade fevers, at 100-102 F, are harmless and help the body fight infection, generally lasting two to three days. Anything over 105 F puts your child at high risk of bacterial infection; pushing 107 F, it's serious and potentially harmful to the brain.

2. Runny nose. A virus-related cold is the most common cause. Green, yellow or clear discharge is standard. Lozon and other pediatricians agree that the color's usually irrelevant, and doesn't indicate a bacterial infection. If it persists for more than a few weeks, there's a chance it’s allergies.

3. Cough. It's a normal complaint, because young kids can't clear secretions from postnasal drainage. If paired with a mild fever and runny nose, it's likely a regular cold. A fever beyond 102 F could mean pneumonia. Coughs can last for weeks, notes KidsHealth.org, but if it lags past three, call the doc. (Learn more about coughs here.)

4. Muscle aches. When they settle into major muscle groups – legs, arms, shoulders, chest or abdomen – influenza is a usual suspect. These aches are accompanied by a high fever, chills and headaches, notes FluGuru.com.

5. Headache. Throbbing noggins frequently result from viral illnesses (colds), as well as the flu. Treating the fever will usually relieve the headache. Seek medical attention when there's a high fever and persistent vomiting, advises Pediatrics.About.com.

6. Rash. It's typically not serious unless it looks infected – or if broken blood vehicles appear under the skin. Causes can range from chickenpox and measles to a brush with a poisonous plant. Click here to learn more about a wide range of reasons.

7. Vomiting. This can crop up with many types of illnesses. It's important for kids to re-hydrate with plenty of fluids. But is there also severe abdominal pain, headaches, stiff neck, high fever or frequent diarrhea? Then call your pediatrician, advises AcidRefluxConnection.com.

8. Sore throat. When linked to a cold, help can come in the form of a decongestant or pain reliever. If the discomfort is more severe, it could be strep throat – and time to visit the doctor.

9. Diarrhea. It's usually caused by viral infection – especially when there's vomiting or a low fever in the mix – or certain types of food-borne illnesses. As with vomiting, be mindful of providing extra liquids. Most cases will disappear when the virus works its way out.

10. Abdominal pain. Culprits are often linked to a stomach virus or constipation, notes Pediatrics.About.com. This is a concern when it's very severe, persistent and not relieved by bowel movement or gas.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Tennessee Law Prevents Parents from Giving Child a Hybrid Last Name

Tennessee Law Prevents Parents from Giving Child a Hybrid Last Name

Carl Abramson and Kim Sarubbi mashed together their surnames for their first two kids, but Tennessee law says they can't use the last name 'Sabr' for baby No. 3.

Sticky Fingers Duct Tape Book Offers Easy Bow Making How-To

Sticky Fingers Duct Tape Book Offers Easy Bow Making How-To

Sophie Maletsky's new guide, published by Zest Books, is packed with fun crafts and DIY ideas kids and families can make out of colorful duct tape.

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

This versatile craft material transforms into an acorn fall creation, decorative ribbon, cute Japanese critters and cool dividers for your kid's closet.

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

Mealtime can turn from pleasant to panic in a matter of seconds. Protect your child from this mishap with our list of dos and don’ts.

YouTube Moms Parody Iggy Azalea's Hit Song 'Fancy'

YouTube Moms Parody Iggy Azalea's Hit Song 'Fancy'

The rapper's had the hit of the summer, but these clever mothers made it their own, riffing on pregnancy and motherhood in some pretty funny viral videos.

Biscuit Recipes: From Classic to Chocolate

Biscuit Recipes: From Classic to Chocolate

September is National Biscuit Month, but you can bake these any time! These recipes, including classic biscuits from Betty Crocker and cornmeal biscuits from Martha Stewart, will have you reaching...

Little One-Yard Wonders Book Review and Play Mat Project

Little One-Yard Wonders Book Review and Play Mat Project

Check out a new title that promises lots of sewing projects you can make for kids. Also, for the skilled seamstress, try one of its cool play-oriented patterns.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement