Common Symptoms In Children That Parents Should Not Ignore

Sometimes it can be hard to judge when symptoms you notice in your child warrant a call to your doctor. Children can get ill a lot, thanks to school, but it can be hard to tell which temperature is an indication of a high fever, which level of tummy ache is a sign of a stomach bug, and which symptoms are nothing to worry about. Knowing this is very important when it comes to taking care of your children’s health. Cuts, bruises, and flu are natural when kids are growing and playing, but as a parent, there are some signs and symptoms that you should not ignore in your child. They may need medical attention, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

As well as knowing which symptoms you should keep an eye out for, it’s also important to keep up to date with health checks like check-ups and a hearing test, as well as any recommended vaccinations to keep your child as healthy as possible. 

High Fever

A fever is a natural way for the immune system to fight an infection, but sometimes, it does require medical attention. A body temperature that is equal to or more than 100.4F is generally considered to be a fever and is a sign of an active immune system in your child. If your child has a fever, but it still eating and drinking as they do normally then you can skip the trip to the doctors and choose not to give any medications. If they aren’t eating and drinking as they usually do, you can cautiously give defense medicines in a limited dose to reduce the fever temporarily. However, remember that these medicines do not actually fight the infection. If the fever lasts for more than two days in a child under two years old, or four days in older children, then you should see your doctor. 


In most cases, a headache is caused by muscle construction in the scalp and is not due to any brain-related problem. In general, children should not get a headache. If your child is complaining of a minor headache, then you can treat it with over-the-counter pain killers. However, if the pain is persistent and it is affecting the normal activities of the child, such as eating, playing, or watching your TV, then you should call your child’s doctor. If your child gets headaches often, then you should visit the doctor to have them evaluated. 

If your child has a severe headache, as well as a high fever, and is finding it hard to open their eyes, then this could be a sign of a much bigger problem. If this happens, immediately take your child to the doctor to rule out meningitis, which is a fatal brain disease. Other symptoms to look out for include rashes vomiting, and stiffness in the neck. 


If your child vomits, you should not give them anything to drink for an hour afterward. After this hour’s wait, you can give them small sips of a clear electrolyte solution. Keep giving the child fluids in small amounts every fifteen minutes for at least four hours before you give them any food. If the vomiting carries on for more than 24 hours, it can lead to dehydration. If this happens, seek immediate medical attention. Vomiting and fever could be a sign of a urinary tract infection, appendicitis, or throat infection. If you notice that your child’s vomit is green, or that there is blood present, then you should seek immediate medical help, as this could be a sign of bowel constriction. 

Abdominal Pain

As your children get exposed to new foods and diets, it is normal and common for them to experience some stomach pain. You can consider the problem major if the pain is severe and is present on the lower right side. You should also take it seriously if stomach pain is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, and tenderness when the stomach is touched. This could be caused by appendicitis, and the pain will get worse over time. If you notice symptoms like this in your child, visit your doctor. 

Severe Fatigue

If your child doesn’t seem to be very energetic when they usually are, or if a lack of energy lasts for a long stretch of time, then there could be a problem. Don’t just assume this symptom is due to a lack of sleep or a late night. It could be caused by conditions like anemia, malabsorption, or even depression. Book a checkup with your doctor to confirm the cause. If your child is old enough, it might be a good idea to leave your child alone with the doctor, so if the problem is depression, they can discuss their worries openly without feeling uncomfortable, if they aren’t ready to talk to you yet. 

Breathing Difficulty

Rapid breathing is common in children with a fever. If this is relieved with medications, then you don’t need to worry. However, if rapid breathing is present without a fever, then you should take your child to the doctor. Breathing difficulty while playing or exercising, especially with a whistling sound during exhalation, could be caused by asthma. Take your child for a check-up if you notice this. 

Weight Loss/Gain

Slight fluctuations in weight are common and nothing to worry about. However, dramatic or unexplained weight loss or gain in a child is something you should have checked as soon as possible by your pediatrician. 

Extensive Rash

If your child has a rash that is only on their hands or feet, then you don’t need to be too concerned about it. However, if the rash is all over their body, they may need medical attention. If a locally present red-colored rash turns white when you press it, and back to red when you let go, then you also don’t need to worry much. If this doesn’t happen, and your child also has a fever, this could be sepsis or meningitis, which is a medical emergency. 

Hives are also a medical emergency when there is swelling in the lips alongside a rash. If your child is having difficulty breathing this could be due to a more serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which needs emergency treatment. 

Extreme Thirst

After a few hours of playing, it is normal for your child to feel thirsty. However, if you notice that your child does not seem to be satiated even after drinking enough water, you should take them to be checked by a doctor. It could be due to diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is possible in children, and excessive thirst is one of the symptoms. Other symptoms to look out for include frequent urination, increased hunger, fatigue, and weight loss. These symptoms paired with thirst mean you should book a doctor’s appointment. 

Children often seem to show these symptoms at night, but don’t panic. Most pediatricians have an out-of-hours service for emergencies, as they understand how often children are taken ill during the night. 

If you’re worried about your child, don’t take the wait and watch approach. You will never be judged for taking your child to the doctor or hospital, even if turns out there is nothing wrong. It’s always better to have it checked and to be reassured about their health than to have to live with it if something goes wrong because you waited. Take your child to the doctor as required, to prevent complications in the future.



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