Every child is uniquely made and experience illness in different ways. The information below is for educational purposes and does not take the place of getting an assessment by a trained professional. Ideally, symptoms that last more than 48 hours should be evaluated further. You know your child best!
Fever is define by a temperature over 100.5. When your child is fighting an illness, it is best to allow the body's natural defenses to help. If it increases beyond this number, then it is ok to give over the counter medications for fever. However, if you have a newborn (less than a month old) with fever, call your primary care provider immediately. When your fever is still present for more than 3 days on average, it is advised that you take your child in for a check-up.
Common Cold vs. Flu
Signs and symptoms of a cold can be cough, runny nose, sneezing, fever, and fatigue. A common cold starts more gradual than the flu. With the flu, your child may feel excessively tired, complain of body aches, and have a higher fever. If you have any of these symptoms, have your child rest and give plenty of fluids and try to avoid to others as to prevent further spread of illness.
When your child is vomiting and/or having episodes of diarrhea, he/she may have what we call gastroenteritis, or stomach bug. Your child may or may not have fever, a poor appetite, and feel very tired. The most important thing to remember is little children can become dehydrated easily. Give your child small amounts of fluids (preferably an electrolyte-based beverage such as pedialyte) throughout the day to help prevent this. It may take around 1-2days for the illness to improve and longer for his/her little tummy to get back to normal. Once your child is no longer vomiting or has diarrhea, you may start introducing bland foods in small amounts. If your child is not urinating, has a dry mouth, or producing little or no tears, call your provider to further assessment. In the meantime, washing hands is the best way to avoid spreading illness.