Childhood Illness; Knowing When to Call the Doctor: Ears, Throat, Eyes, Vomiting/Diarrhea

Ear Infections:

Ear infections are a very common type of childhood infection. They may occur with a virus or on their own. Ear infections can cause a great deal of discomfort.

Older children may complain of ear pain. Younger children may “dig” or pull at their ear. Some children may not feel any discomfort.

Children with ear infections may seem fussier than is usual with a cold. They may not get well as quickly. Some children may have a fever. Children may not eat because swallowing causes pain. Sometimes fluid may drain from the ear. An ear infection left untreated may lead to complications. Call or email Dr. Erica if you thin your child may have an ear infection.

Sore throat:

Sore throats are common as part of a cold or a flu-like illness. However, if the sore throat has the following symptoms, call Dr. Erica. The child has trouble breathing or swallowing. It hurts to talk. A small child may drool. You can see swelling of, or white spots on, the tonsils. The only symptoms are a sore throat and fever. Your child may have strep throat (a throat infection).

Eye Infections:

Eye infections may be caused by either bacteria or viruses. It is often difficult to tell the difference. Bacterial eye infections are treated with antibiotics. Viral infections are usually not. Usually there is a clear discharge and the white part of the eye is slightly red in viral infections. Dr. Erica may advise you to keep your child home. Many eye infections are highly contagious.

Call or email Dr. Erica if your child has: Lots of redness of the white part of the eye; redness of the skin around the eyes; swelling of the eyelids; a yellow or green crusty discharge around the eyes; tenderness around the eyes; sensitivity to light.

For eye problems in babies less than one or two months of age, call the Dr. Erica right away.

Vomiting and Diarrhea:

Vomiting and diarrhea are usually mild when caused by a virus. In some cases, vomiting and diarrhea may be symptoms of a serious illness, such as appendicitis (an inflammation involving the large intestine).

When a child has vomiting or diarrhea for too long, dehydration, or fluid loss, can be a problem.

Contact Dr. Erica right away if your cild has any of these sings or symptoms of dehydration:

-Sunken eyes

-Dry mouth and eyes

-Rapid, wak pulse

-Skin that does not fall back in place when pulled up gently

-Fewer wet diapers than usual

Preventing Dehydration:

It is very important for your child to take fluids when vomiting or diarrhea occur.

Start giving your child clear liquids one teaspoonful at a time. Give a ready-miles solution of sugar and electrolytes (available at supermarkets) rather than juice or milk. Offer small amounts frequently.

Once your child has been able to drink clear liquids for about 8 to 12 hours, you may offer certain foods. Babies may be offered formula or breast mild. Give older children the “BRAT” diet: Bananas, cream of Rice cereal (prepared with water), Applesauce, and Toast.

Take the child to see Dr. Erica if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms. There may be a serious illness.

-The vomit or diarrhea is bloody, or the vomit is yellow or green, which may mean the bowel is obstructed

-There is severe cramping, making young children draw up their legs into their abdomen, or severe persistent pain. Slight cramping is normal in a child with vomiting or diarrhea who, others, is comfortable

-There is pain in the lower right part of the abdomen, which may indicate appendicitis

-The child urinates ore often than usual, urination hurts, or the urine is cloudy or red

-The child does not want to move about, walks gingerly, or walks tilted over to one side. This could mean intestinal blockage or appendicitis