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How Can I Tell If My Child Is Sick?

It is not always easy to tell if your child is sick.

Sometimes, it's clear that you need to take your child to the doctor, for example after an accident or when an illness causes worrying symptoms such as difficulty with breathing.

You have to call the ambulance if your child:

* is very drowsy or unresponsive

* has high-pitched, weak or continuous crying

* has difficulty in breathing or unusual breathing

* has pale, mottled or blue skin

* has a fit or seizure

* has a bulging fontanell ( soft spot on top of their head

* has a rash that doesn't fade after you press the child's skin.

Otherwise, your best guide to their state of health is your child's behaviour. Children who look, behave and act more or less normally are unlikely to be very well. A healthy child will generally have a good appetite and get a full night's sleep.

They will also have a plenty of energy and natural curiosity in their surroundings and generally act appropriately for their age.

A sick child may:

* be fretful at listless, or irritable when disturbed

* cry readily and not be easily comforted

* lose interest in playing or is unusually quiet and inactive

* not want to eat

* feel hot to touch

* look tired and flushed or pale

* complain of feeling cold

Common Symptoms And When To See Your Doctor:

* Fever: Fever itself is not harmful. The infection causing the fever is often viral and needs rest and fluids ,but sometimes it's bacteria and antibiotics are needed. A baby under 3 months with fever over 38°C is an emergency and they should be taken to an emergency department straight away as the cause of the fever is often hard to find and other signs of illness may be difficult to detect.

* Vomiting: is a common reaction to bodily upsets, which may or may not be serious in the absence of other symptoms

* Diarrhoea: The loss of fluid through repeated watery poss can cause dehydration in young babies, which can be dangerous.

* Pain: If your child has pain in the abdomen, throat, ears or muscles, when passing urine, they need to see the doctor.

* Rash: Rashes, which are common in children, may be due to an infectious disease such as a viral infection, or an allergic reaction to medicine or to something that they ate or touched. Try to find out the cause, which may require medical treatment.

Many rashes are due to minor infections and are not serious. If your child has a purple rash that does not fade with pressure, you should take your child to a doctor urgently.

* Headache: If the headache lasts for a long time, or comes and goes, or your child has a stiff neck, they need to see the doctor.

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