Childhood is a time of rapid growth and development, but it also comes with its share of ailments and health concerns. While many minor illnesses can be managed at home, some conditions warrant a visit to a general practitioner (GP).

Line of doctor and nurses in a hospital

Early intervention by a healthcare professional can ensure proper treatment and prevent complications. This article explores common childhood ailments that might require a GP’s attention.


Fever is one of the most common reasons that parents seek medical advice for their children. While fever itself isn’t a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition, it can indicate a range of issues, from viral infections like the flu to more serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia.

You should consider seeing a GP if:

  • The fever persists for more than three days.
  • The child is younger than three months old with a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
  • The fever is very high (above 104°F or 40°C).
  • The child exhibits signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, lack of tears, or not urinating frequently.
  • The child is lethargic, unusually irritable, or has a rash.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections, including colds, flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia, are prevalent in children. Symptoms like a cough, runny nose, or a sore throat are typically manageable at home. However, medical attention is necessary if:

  • The child has difficulty breathing, is wheezing, or rapid breathing.
  • They have a persistent or severe cough that doesn’t improve after a week.
  • The child has a high fever alongside respiratory symptoms.
  • The child is experiencing chest pain.
  • There are signs of a possible ear infection, such as ear pain or fluid draining from the ear.

Skin Rashes

Skin rashes in children can result from various causes, including allergic reactions, infections, or chronic conditions like eczema. Many rashes are harmless and resolve themselves on their own, but for peace of mind, you can speak to an online doctor, such as TapGP. However, you should see a GP if:

  • The rash is accompanied by a fever.
  • The rash is widespread or covers a large area of the body.
  • The rash is painful, blistering, or oozing.
  • The child is very uncomfortable or scratching excessively.
  • The rash doesn’t improve after a few days or continues to spread.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are common in young children and often follow a cold or respiratory infection. Symptoms include ear pain, trouble hearing, irritability, and sometimes fever. Consult a GP if:

  • The child has severe ear pain.
  • There is fluid or pus draining from the ear.
  • The child has a high fever.
  • Symptoms persist for more than a couple of days without improvement.
  • The child shows signs of hearing loss.


Children can develop allergies to foods, environmental factors, or insect stings. Symptoms may include sneezing, itchy eyes, skin rashes, or digestive issues. Seek medical advice if:

  • The child has a severe allergic reaction with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or lips, or hives (this requires immediate emergency care).
  • The child has persistent allergy symptoms that interfere with daily activities.
  • Over-the-counter medications don’t relieve the symptoms.
  • The child has recurring allergic reactions.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

UTIs can occur in children and often present with symptoms such as painful urination, a frequent urge to urinate, and abdominal pain. A GP visit is important if:

  • The child has symptoms of a UTI.
  • There’s a fever accompanying urinary symptoms.
  • The child complains of back or side pain.
  • There’s blood in their urine.
  • The child has a history of recurrent UTIs.


While many childhood ailments are minor and resolve themselves with home care, it’s crucial to recognize when professional medical advice is necessary. Regular visits to a GP can help to ensure your child’s health issues are properly addressed, leading to faster recovery and preventing potential complications.

Trust your instincts as a parent; if something seems wrong or you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional. Early intervention can make a significant difference to your child’s health and well-being.

, Common Childhood Ailments That Might Need a General Practitioner, Days of a Domestic Dad