When should I call the doctor?

Q: Should I call the doctor if my baby catches a cold?

A: Generally speaking, there's no need to call the doctor right away unless you notice that your child is running a high fever for his age:
• Your baby is younger than 3 months and has a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees F. or higher.
• Your baby is 3 to 6 months and has a rectal temperature of 101 degrees F. or higher.
• Your child is older than 6 months and has a rectal temperature of 103 degrees F. or higher.
But you should also alert the pediatrician if you notice any of the following conditions:
• Your baby is very dehydrated: Hasn't had a wet diaper in six hours, has a dry mouth, and has few or no tears when she cries.
• Cold symptoms don't start to improve after five days (could indicate it's something else, like bronchitis, a sinus infection, or even pneumonia).
• Your kid seems very fussy, tired, and out of it, even with no fever.
• Your child's breathing is rapid or labored.
• Your child refuses to drink (a sign she may have trouble breathing).
--Lauren Gelman

Copyright 2007 Meredith Corporation.

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