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to think my illness radar might be off?

(52 Posts)
CailinDana Fri 04-Apr-14 08:06:22

I'm originally from Ireland where every visit to the GP costs 60 euros. It's always cost quite a bit of money to see the GP so growing up we were only ever brought to the doctor when we were really ill, as in, not eaten for a week can't get out of bed ill. I wonder has it made me blase about things that other people consider doctor-worthy. My friends here in the UK bring their children to the doctor for runny eyes, a cough, a temperature, stuff I wouldn't even consider bringing my child for. A friend of mine said he was very worried about his DD last week and brought her straight to the doctor for symptoms that my DS also had. I just thought "Oh he's ill" and waited for him to get better.
So now I feel a bit unsure of myself - when should you bring a DC to the doctor? Am I being too complacent? I only see a point in going to the doctor if I feel antibiotics are called for (neither of mine has had anything like that in 3 years) or if they're floppy and unresponsive, having difficulty breathing or in obvious pain (again, never happened).
AIBU to ask you to recalibrate my illness radar?

CailinDana Fri 04-Apr-14 08:10:56

As a test case - my one year old is currently very snotty, and has a very phlegmy cough. She's had the cough for about three days and it's slowly gotten worse but she's still wandering around playing and doesn't have a temperature. Would you bring her to the doctor?

JuniperTisane Fri 04-Apr-14 08:20:47

No I wouldn't. My 15mo is currently hot and cuddly and just wants to feed and sleep but I know it's just a nasty virus because his older brother had it for two days and is a bit better today. He would have be unresponsive or lethargic and floppy for me to worry unduly and he's not any of that, just clingy.

2whippetsnobed Fri 04-Apr-14 08:26:24

I think you are actually right CailinDana. It seems to me that people run to the GP with every minor rash, temp and snotty nose within minutes of the first symptom. No wonder GP's are overrun.

I am definitely more along the lines of "We''ll see how it goes, here have some calpol".

jendot Fri 04-Apr-14 08:30:28

I'm like you, as a family we only go to the doctor if we have exhausted all avenues of healing naturally and require prescription medication to cure the problem. Coughs, colds, sticky eyes, tummy bugs, sore throats we wait it out and self medicate wherever possible. I am always AMAZED at the amount of times my friends take their kids to the doctors... Yes he has a few spots...really? You are taking him to the doctors? He has a bit of a cough, ohh dear poor ds..ohh you are taking him to the doctors? Seriously one friend has herself and both kids at the doctors at least once a week...last week she had some skin on the edge of her fingernail that was red and slightly sore ( I'd have bunged some germolene on it) but she thought she needed antibiotics....the poor doctors must despair!

goshhhhhh Fri 04-Apr-14 08:33:37

We only go if there is a leg dropping off....seriously we are like you - only if really worried. Most things ate viruses & there fore antibiotics won't work. I'd trust your radar.

cory Fri 04-Apr-14 08:34:23

I don't actually know anyone who would have taken their toddler to the doctor for a common cold: round here it was more "oh yes, he has thrown up a couple of times since he banged his head but I don't see why he shouldn't come to the party" (and yes, that one did shock me).

Perhaps you just have unusually fussy friends.

Almostfifty Fri 04-Apr-14 08:37:45

It's the people that take them when they're being a bit sick that get me.

They have a bug, they will get better. Why drag them out to the GP when all they usually need is to stay still and keep drinking till it stays down?

Dsheetsbucks9 Fri 04-Apr-14 08:38:15

Parents are too quick to rush to the GP - and don't get me started on A&E.

I have a clumsy lot and I can't tell you the number of times where we've been sitting there with broken bones or whatever and having to wait for hours while someone's PFB is getting checked out for a bit of a cough only for the parents to emerge beaming when it's, surprise surprise, only a cough.

thebody Fri 04-Apr-14 08:38:31

I was like you when my children were little in fact I should have taken dc4 to the doctors much earlier than I did with her cough as it was whooping cough! but he baby 4 and all that.

however as I have got older I worry and fuss far far more. grin

oscarwilde Fri 04-Apr-14 08:41:01

I think you should visit your GP to discuss it grin
Same background, same approach here. Blows my mind how many times people will see a doctor, if there was any charge at all many would gives it a few more days to give it a chance.
I think GPs should point it out more and educate people on how to deal with Dr Google. Introducing charges will be a minefield of admin with people lining up to claim chronic illnesses to get around it.

Cough lasting longer than 10 days or wheezy and I get them checked out

GiveItALashJack Fri 04-Apr-14 08:43:16

I am in Ireland so I hear you! Mind you I felt very bad when son was complaining of pain after taking a tumble and I adopted a wait and see approach.

Broken collar bone blush sad

CailinDana Fri 04-Apr-14 08:45:15

I still feel like a criminal walking out of the GPs without paying anything! It's funny because my DH and I discuss at length whether to go to the GP for something then one of us says "Oh FFS it's free, just go and see what they say!" Shows you how it being free makes a difference. However, I do think that because the GP is so expensive in Ireland more people end up really ill because they leave things far too long.

thebody Fri 04-Apr-14 08:45:26

and na, I don't blame parents taking babies to the doctor. if you are worried you are worried.

doctors should be able to reassure without dishing out unnecessary pills.

what's the harm in bring reassured?

uselessidiot Fri 04-Apr-14 08:54:02

I've always lived in the UK but I'm like you with the GP. Mind you I work in the NHS so have a fair idea of what the GP can/will do so self manage as far as possible. Lots of people go to the GP for too minor things, people even try for ooh for really minor things.

Dsheetsbucks9 Fri 04-Apr-14 08:54:49

The harm is that some parents seem to need reassurance on the most trivial matters on a weekly basis when they have a perfectly healthy baby and those with real problems and babies that do need to see a GP at short notice are left waiting at home worried or trying to comfort a sickly baby for hours in a waiting room while paranoid parents are in with the GP being reassured about a minor sniffle.

lougle Fri 04-Apr-14 09:00:19

I think it gets more difficult once children are school aged. Schools artificially group children in small spaces (classrooms) so if a child is contagious, you've a good chance of passing on their illness to 29 other children, who can then pass it on to their siblings, etc., and before you know it an illness spreads right through the school.

If you're unsure of the cause of symptoms and the child isn't quite ill enough not to attend school, but is clearly not 'right', you can find that you have to take them to the doctor to make sure that it's ok to send them to school.

I think a good rule of thumb is that fever that resolves with paracetamol and the child plays happily is ok. A fever that doesn't respond to paracetamol (or ibruprofen), with the child remaining listless, disinterested in playing/food, etc., or refusing fluids = doctor.

phlebas Fri 04-Apr-14 09:01:48

I wouldn't take mine to the GP for a snotty cold & cough either OP!

My eldest (I have 4, with 6 years between 1 & 2) was never ill - I suppose I was a bit smug about that; she'd never had antibiotics etc etc. Now I feel I am always at the GP, I am more cautious than I used to be ... effect of age & unpleasant experience sad This winter has been awful I don't think a week has gone that I haven't taken someone in for something.

Recently (last 6 weeks) we've had impetigo x2 (not at the same time), tonsillitis x2 (one needed antibiotics one didn't - both dd1 & I have had quinsy so I don't ignore vile tonsils now whereas in the past I'd've just sent them to bed with paracetamol), one query scarlet fever which needed a follow up & a toddler with a limp which can be a very big deal & was followed up by GP with 4 appointments in two weeks. I'm taking dc4 today - he's still pretty unwell 10 days after a puking bug we all had & recovered from - he's not puking now but isn't eating normally & is in pain at night. I think less cautious parents might leave that a few more days to see if it settled over the weekend but experience has also taught me that having an ill child & relying on OOHs is awful. Worse thing is that I'm a medic in a family of HCPs!

phlebas Fri 04-Apr-14 09:05:50

I do think that some people are blasé with the health of their very young infants (<6weeks) though - any very small baby with even a slight fever must be seen quickly even if they are otherwise well. They can & do deteriorate terrifyingly quickly and if you've seen that once you will never forget it sad

Badvoc Fri 04-Apr-14 09:06:21

Well aren't you all lucky?
It must be nice to have kids who recover quickly and don't need meds.

phlebas Fri 04-Apr-14 09:08:24

I'm with you Badvoc!

GiveItALashJack Fri 04-Apr-14 09:14:57

I really dont think she is talking about sick children badvoc..she is talking about people who use a GP rather than common sense...

Dsheetsbucks9 Fri 04-Apr-14 09:19:51

No one is criticising people like you Badvoc - if your children need medicine then they are exactly the kind of people that aren't being seen by GPs as conveniently as they should be because of children that aren't ill enough to justify being there.

I think you've misread the comments slightly and are taking them to heart when they aren't aimed at people like you at all.

Badvoc Fri 04-Apr-14 09:20:16

Oh, I'm sick of it.
You see it all the time on MN.
"Little Johnny fell off the swing and his arm is bent the wrong way - he will be ok with a junior disprin won't he?"
Actually..sometimes, just sometimes, that person you are all mocking at the gp surgery is there for the 4th time in 2 weeks because the fucking gp hasn't prescribed the correct meds or the correct dose, or misdiagnosed a serious illness.
Do people really believe that parents like spending time at gp surgeries!?
Because I have to tell you, it isn't a laugh riot ime.

Badvoc Fri 04-Apr-14 09:21:21

"People like me" - concerned parents you mean?

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