When should I call the doctor?

Parents may find it difficult to recognise whether the symptoms are serious or not.

You must remember that most doctors won’t mind if you seek their advice.

Always follow your instincts and, if you’re ever in doubt contact your doctor.

If your child’s already undergoing treatment from the doctor and you’re worried about his progress, call your doctor again.

Don’t take him to the nearest A&E department, because the medical staff won’t be able to change any of your child’s treatment without consulting your own doctor first.

When to call – checklist

Listed below are the circumstances under which you should always call your doctor. The following are all important signs so never ignore them.

* Raised temperature over 39 degrees C (102.2 degrees F).
* Raised temperature with drowsiness and a purplish rash.
* Raised temperature accompanied by a convulsion, or if your child has had convulsions in the past.
* Raised temperature with a stiff neck and headache.
* Temperature below 35C (95F) accompanied by cold skin, drowsiness, quietness and listlessness.
* Temperature that drops and then rises again suddenly.
* Temperature of more than 38C (100.4F) for more than three days.

* If diarrhoea lasts longer than six hours.
* If diarrhoea is accompanied by pain in the abdomen, a temperature or other obvious signs of illness.

* That lasts longer than six hours.
* Prolonged, violent vomiting.
* Dizziness, plus nausea and headaches.
* Nausea and vomiting accompanied by right-sided pain in the abdomen.

Loss of appetite
* If your baby goes off food suddenly, or is less than six months old and doesn’t seem to be thriving.
* If your child usually has a hearty appetite, but refuses all food for a day and seems listless.

Pain and discomfort
* If your child has headaches and feels sick and dizzy.
* If she complains of blurred vision, especially after a head bang.
* If she has severe griping pains at regular intervals.
* If she has a pain in the right side of her abdomen and feels sick.

If her breathing is laboured and her ribs draw sharply with each breath.