The most common illnesses in children are caused by respiratory and gastrointestinal viruses. The symptoms include a fever, cough, runny nose or vomiting and diarrhea. Fortunately, most of these resolve on their own without any medications such as antibiotics. The duration of most of these illnesses is between 7 to 10 days.

However, if the illness is severe, we do provide same day appointments at all our Offices. Please call early so that we can see the sick child at a convenient time.

Here are some common symptoms:


Fever is a symptom of the body’s immune system working to fight a germ that could be a virus or a bacterium. Rarely fevers are caused by inflammation where the body’s immune system is attacking its own cells such as in auto immune conditions.

What is a normal temperature?
The core temperature (actual body temperature) should vary between 97 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do I measure my child’s temperature?
The most accurate way to measure temperature in infants is a rectal temperature. It can be done with a digital thermometer inserted gently ½ inch into the anal opening and held in place until it reads the temperature.
The temporal thermometer is the next best option but needs to be self-calibrated and accurate.
The digital thermometers measure axillary or oral temperatures. The axillary temperature is the body’s surface temperature and is usually 1 degree below the actual temperature.

When do I worry about my child’s temperature?
Any fever in an infant is concerning especially below 6 months of age. Infants can get Tylenol if they have a rectal temperature more than 100 degrees. It is advisable that the infant is seen by a medical professional if the fever is high (>100 degrees rectal) or if the infant is acting sick.
For older children, a fever is usually caused by a viral infection either respiratory or Gastrointestinal. The child needs to stay hydrated and receive fever reducing medications such as Tylenol ( Acetaminophen) or Motrin (Ibuprofen) if the temperature is more than 100 degrees.


There are multiple reasons for a child’s cough. Most often it is a mild viral upper respiratory tract Infection that causes a dry hacky cough. They can have honey beyond the first year of age with warm fluids to soothe the throat. Most upper respiratory infections will resolve in 1 week.

When do I worry about the cough?
Any cough that is prolonged more than 1 week, sound very phlegmy, associated with high fever, causing the child to throw up and not eat, causing trouble or noisy breathing needs evaluation at our Office.
Please note that OTC cough medication containing DECONGESTANTS are not recommended below the age of 5 years in view of serious side effects.


Vomiting occurs commonly with a viral gastrointestinal infection. There can be other causes such as gastrointestinal reflux in babies, obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract, raised pressure in the brain. The main treatment is maintenance of hydration with fluids such as PEDIALYTE.

When do I worry about vomiting?
Vomiting that contains green bile, that is projectile (forceful) associated with symptoms of dehydration such as fatigue, altered mental status, sunken eyes and dry mouth should be evaluated immediately.


Diarrhea is the passage of loose watery stools with increase in frequency of bowel movements. It is our body’s way of getting rid of toxic waste from a viral infection. Most of these gastrointestinal viruses will resolve within 4 to 7 days.

The main treatment is maintenance of hydration and monitoring for dehydration. The signs of dehydration include lethargy, dry mouth, lack of tears while crying, decrease in urine frequency and quantity and sunken eyes. Pedialyte is a well-tolerated solution that given early slowly will prevent dehydration.

When do I worry about diarrhea?
If the child is holding down fluids, diarrhea is not a major concern.

These are the warning signs are the following:
1) Severe abdominal pain
2) Blood and /or mucous in stools
3) Signs of dehydration as mentioned above
4) Presence of a distended abdomen.

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