From Fevers to Faking It: Tips for Knowing When to Call the Doctor and When to Wait It Out

No matter how healthy your kid is, he/she is going to try and play sick every once in a while. That's just how kids are! Nothing sounds better to a young boy or girl than pulling one over on mom and dad and getting to skip school for a day. 

But, there are certain occasions when your child isn't faking it and they need medical attention. There are also times when you can save yourself the trouble of going to the doctor and take care of your child's symptoms yourself. 

How are you supposed to determine what's actually going on, though? 

It's a lot easier to catch a kid playing sick and treat a real sickness than you might think. All you have to do is pay attention to the signs and make sure you're well-prepared to take action. 

Here's a closer look at the signs your child is faking sick, actually sick, and when you may need to call the doctor.

Classic Signs Your Kid Is Faking It  

It's amazing how slick a child thinks they are. Sometimes, it's cute and funny and you can all go about your morning as normal after you call them out for playing sick. Other times, you may be seriously concerned about your little one only to realize they were faking it!

Regardless of what your child says they're experiencing, your approach to verifying their symptoms or catching them in the act should be the same.

All you have to do is look for these 3 things:

Their Behavior Doesn't Match Their Claims

Maybe your son says he has a tummy ache but he scarfed down breakfast a few minutes before trying to play sick. Maybe your daughter claims she has a headache, then she starts dancing when her favorite song comes on. 

Even the happiest child feels low and sluggish when he/she is sick. If your child says they're feeling funny but they're acting like their normal selves, take them to school. 

They're Not Sure How to Describe What They Feel 

Sometimes, all a child knows how to say is that they feel funny. Children don't have as much bodily awareness as adults do, so it can be hard to get them to tell you what they're feeling even when they are sick.

If they keep changing the symptoms they have, though, they're not sick. Be sure to ask your son/daughter multiple times how they feel, and more importantly, what they're experiencing. If the story keeps changing, they're fine. 

Their Symptoms Miraculously Go Away 

The final way to tell whether or not your child is sick is to tell them you're going to the doctor. Children who are genuinely feeling bad will be glad you're taking action, even if they're not fond of doctors visits. Children who thought they were going to stay home and watch TV all day will suddenly have a "miraculous recovery."

Real Symptoms You Can Handle At Home

Telling your child that you're going to schedule a doctor's appointment is a good way to catch them in a lie. But, there are certain times when your child is actually sick and you don't even have to bother with a doctor's trip! 

Here are a few symptoms you can handle yourself. 

Coughing and a Sore Throat

Most parents jump to conclusions when their child has a raspy voice or a serious cough. The chances that your child has strep or even something contagious are slim, though.

More often than not these symptoms will go away once your child has had a lot of rest and fluids. Keep your child home for a day, give them lots of water and tea, and see how their symptoms progress.

You may be pleasantly surprised to discover you're a better at-home nurse than you think! Who knows, you may even want to buy an outfit from Blue Sky Scrubs for these at-home sick days.

Nausea and Stomach Bugs

What if your child threw up their breakfast this morning? What if they're feeling nauseous? As concerning as this can be to see, it's nothing you can't handle. 

Make your little one a big bowl of soup and have them eat things that are light on their stomach. Stock up on pretzels, saltine crackers, and simple carbs like rice and bread. Keep them away from junk food for the day and make sure they're drinking plenty of water. 

This should be enough to have your child feeling good as new. 

Situations When You Need to Call the Doctor 

Although you're perfectly capable of taking care of a child with minor symptoms, there are more serious things that require a doctor's immediate attention. 

These include:

Your Child Has a High Fever

If your child is sweating or they feel super hot when you touch them, take their temperature. Anything over a reading of 100 degrees means they need to see their pediatrician. Some moms will even go to the doctor when their child has a temperature of 98 or 99, just to be safe. 

There's a Rash on Their Skin 

The next situation in which you should book a doctor's appointment is if your child has a rash. No matter how big or small it is, the best way to fight a rash is usually with prescribed medications and topical treatments. You can't access these things until you see a doctor, and you should also discuss how to keep the rash from spreading.

They've Been in the Bathroom All Day

It's one thing for your child to have their stomach act up a bit in the morning or before bed. But, it's a totally different situation when they've been throwing up or going to the bathroom all day long. 

This is a sign that something is seriously wrong. If your little one says it hurts to use the bathroom or they've upchucked everything they had to eat in the past 24 hours, call your family doctor right away.

How to Keep Everyone in Your Family Healthy

With these tips in hand, you'll have a better idea of whether your child is faking it, or if you actually have to call the doctor.

For tips and tricks on how to keep your whole family healthy, click here

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