To Call or Not to Call the Doctor

Moms and dads can be a little on the edge when their new little bundle of joy arrives, many times calling the doctor about every little move she/he makes.  But when should you hold off from making that call?  Parents may want to call about every runny nose or cough, but there are times you can save you and your little one from making a trip to the doctor.

Five-year-old Alex Melton is having problems with his asthma.  It's a condition his mom doesn't want to get out of hand, that's why she didn't hesitate to bring him to the doctor.  Pediatrician Dr. Gary Olson says, "Sometimes what will happen is they know the last time their child did this they got real sick, and they want to avoid that."

That's why Amy Hitt is at the doctor's office.  Her 15 month old son, Hunter, has infections in both ears.  Amy says she always calls the doctor as soon as something's wrong.  "I just feel a sense of relief," Amy says.  Dr. Olson says the fear of a cold leading to ear infections is a call he gets all the time. A call that's necessary, especially for babies, who can't tell their parents how they're feeling.  The age of your child should be the first thing you consider before you call the doctor.  Dr. Olson says, "When you have a newborn that's sick in any way, whether it's poor feeding, fever, if they're having trouble breathing, or if they're just not acting right, you should call."  Dr. Olson says when children are older, like Alex, parents can get a better idea of how their child is feeling, just by talking to them or watching them play.

So when can you skip the call?  If your child has ordinary cold symptoms for a few days or a low grade fever, over the counter medications can probably take care of it.  But if doing that doesn't making you or your little one any better, there is truth to the saying mom's always right.  "I think the parent's intuition that there's something wrong is very important.  I take that seriously and I think they need to be checked," Dr. Olson says.

Babies pick up on things quickly by themselves, but how can you help them expand their minds.  Ways on how to stimulate your baby and help them learn will be Thursday on Heartland Health.