When should your child visit the doctor?

Flu season is still here, and it is taking its toll on AISD and neighboring school districts.  It isn’t just a seasonal issue; parents constantly have to decide whether their child has a school-test-related headache, or if there is an underlying medical problem. In the March 1st issue of the Wall Street Journal, an article by Melinda Beck, (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704615504576172311079669134.html), provides some useful guidelines to help parents make this decision.

The article explains how parents become reliant on a thermometer to determine whether a visit to the doctor is called for. In the case of infants who cannot talk, you obviously need to use a thermometer; but it also provides a clear, objective number that tells us if something is wrong. Fever, if accompanied by other symptoms, is a better indicator.

If your child has a cough that lasts more than two days; a fever lasting longer than four; a rash; or a specific area that hurts; if your child is lethargic or hard to wake up – these are all reasons to consult your pediatrician. It is important to emphasize that a fever above 100.4 in an infant younger than three months would require an immediate visit.

The guidelines in the article match those of AISD: children who can remain fever free on their own for 24 hours can return to school. Everybody else needs to stay at home, as this is when we are at our most infectious. The same rule also applies to the workplace.

Remember: a fever is a normal response of the body to a virus and should be allowed to run its course. A fever can actually help you fight off the virus faster. You can ease your child’s discomfort by using ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If the fever persists and is accompanied by other symptoms, consult your doctor.

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