Knowing when a child is sick enough to call the doctor

Pediatrician Lawrence Kagan, MD, shares advice for parents on the signs that your child's illness may be something more serious that you should call your doctor about
How To Tell If Your Child Is Sick Enough To Call The Doctor
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Knowing when a child is sick enough to call the doctor

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I think that maternal and paternal instinct is a very powerful thing. And I think if you have a concern as a parent and you don't feel it can wait,you should always call your doctor. That said, children are going to have between 6 and 16 illnesses a year, especially if they are under 3 years of age, especially if they are in day care,if they have siblings, it's going to be closer to 16. And the reality is these infections teach our immune system to tolerate the world around us and to protect us and to help us to transition toward adulthood. That said, there are things we worry about when children are sick. We obviously worry about a child is becoming dehydrated because they're vomiting and you can't keep up with their losses. You worry about a child with a very high fever, although high fever doesn't always mean that something is wrong. Sometimes even hypothermia can be a more ominous sign. That said, any child under a month of age who has a fever of 100.4 or more absolutely needs to be evaluated immediately in an emergency department or inpatient setting. Between the ages of 2 and 3 months, I think that you need to call your pediatrician right away. And beyond 3 months of age, typically some fever control measures and observation is all you need at least early on the illness so you can call your pediatrician in the morning.

Pediatrician Lawrence Kagan, MD, shares advice for parents on the signs that your child's illness may be something more serious that you should call your doctor about

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Lawrence Kagan, MD

Pediatrician

Lawrence Kagan, MD, FAAP, is a UCLA honors graduate, with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. He received medical training at USC Keck School of Medicine, and completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. In addition to passionately studying neonatal, general pediatric and adolescent medicine at CHLA, he had the opportunity to train under some of the greatest minds in subspecialty pediatrics, diagnosing and managing the rarest and most complicated childhood ailments. Prior to opening Westside Pediatrics, he worked as an attending physician at the CHLA Emergency Department as well as at Cedars Sinai Urgent Care. Dr. Kagan is a native of Los Angeles and is happily married with two children.

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