Child's age, temp can determine when it's time to see a doctor

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by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT GUEST

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 10 at 10:22 PM

WEST LAKE HILLS, Texas -- Doctors say adults usually gauge their symptoms when determining if they should see a doctor. Pediatricians say when it comes to kids, symptoms certainly need to be addressed, but it's the child's age that may be key determining factor.

From five years old, to toddlers 14 months of age, to babies just four months old and babies not even born yet, 411 Pediatrics was a busy place Friday.

"I was concerned about it being the flu and being pregnant," said Rebekah McWhorter. "I just didn't think I would be able to bounce back. I have a one-year-old that I have to care for so, I don't want him or I to get it."

Pediatricians say the flu can affect kids and teens of all ages, but it's the younger children that can present the more challenging symptoms.

"The range that seems to have a different kind of symptomatology is less than five years of age," said Ava Gallagher, M.D., a pediatrician with 411 Pediatrics.

During flu season Gallagher says children in that age range with a fever of 102 or more should be checked by their pediatrician. For children four months or younger, the cutoff point is a fever of 100.4.

"If it's a greater than 100.4, we're more concerned about a bacterial infection," said Gallagher.  "Because their immune system isn't as efficient and they haven't been vaccinated, then there is more concern that there's a bacterial infection and not just a viral infection that's causing that high fever."

Five-year-old Blake Green just wasn't feeling himself lately.  With two older boys Blake's mom knew the time had come to see Dr. Ari Brown.

"He's been coughing for about a week, but he hasn't had fever," said Deedee Green, Blake's mother.  "He finally developed fever this morning, and it was kind of low, low grade this morning."

Turns out Blake has an inner ear infection, but he does not have the flu.  

Children six months of age are too young to be vaccinated, so Dr. Gallagher says it's important for parents, grandparents and caretakers to get their vaccinations to help keep the children from getting the flu.

Doctors remind everyone it's still not too late to get the flu vaccine. We're just now entering the main flu months, and it takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

Go here for more information on 411 Pediatrics.

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