18 Definitive Tips On Whether Your Child Needs To See A Doctor Or Not

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Dr Annabelle Leong

January 22nd, 2019· 5 min read

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I just want to be prepared...

"My child ______ - is that normal?"

Seeking advice on whether one needs to bring your child to see the doctor is a common concern.

Fortunately, Human doctors (many of whom are parents themselves) are on hand to share their expert advice over at our free Q&A.

1. Toddler scratching away at his head non-stop? Get him checked for eczema, which is easily treatable with a shampoo wash

children with eczema

Itchy scalp can be due to a type of eczema that causes a red and flaky scalp. It's easily treatable with a mild shampoo and steroid cream/lotion.

There are of course other causes of scalp itch like head lice, which is much less common in Singapore.

Full answer here.

2. Snoring and blocked noses can be a sign of allergic rhinitis and obstructive sleep apnea

children with OSA

Obstructive sleep apnoea in children singapore

Swollen nasal passages due to allergic rhinitis (a form of allergy) can cause snoring due to a narrow airway.

This can lead to obstructive sleep apnea and lack of oxygen at night, which in turn can lead to:

  • poor quality sleep
  • disruptive sleep and daytime tiredness
  • poor concentration and poorer school results.

Full answer here.

Read more: The Essential Guide To Paediatric Sleep Apnea in Singapore (2020)!

3. Don't be too worried about a shaky tooth that doesn't seem to be falling out

loose tooth in children

Loose teeth generally fall out by themselves, and there's no need to be concerned. However, if it's causing difficulties in eating, extraction is an easy solution.

Full answer here.

4. What to do for a permanent tooth that's growing out of place

children permanent tooth out of place

children permanent tooth out of place

Permanent teeth can sometimes "correct their position themselves" if there are no blockages.

Best thing to do is to get an X-Ray to check!

Full answer here.

5. Coughing for longer than 8 weeks? Try honey

chronic cough in children

1-2 teaspoons of honey a day has been shown to be as or more effective than some OTC cough medications.

Honey is also very safe in children older than 2 years old.

Full answer here.

6. Recurrent ear infections may require more than just antibiotics

recurring ear infections in young kids

If a short course of antibiotics doesn’t help, a tiny tube called a “grommet” can be inserted into the eardrum to improve the ventilation of the middle ear.

Full answer here.

7. Frequent stomachaches may be a manifestation of emotions

frequent stomachache in young children

Stomach pain that occurs at a specific time (i.e. before bedtime or in the morning) may be related to a reluctance to cut play time or to go to school.

Clues that suggest other causes for stomach pain include:

  • weight status
  • eating and bowel habits
  • whether the discomfort bothers her during play time.
  • fever, vomiting and loose stools

Full answer here.

8. Strawberry hemangiomas largely disappear by themselves and do not need treatment.

Strawberry haemangiomas singapore

Strawberry hemangiomas at the following locations can cause complications:

  • around the eye causing visual obstruction, or
  • at a site that affects feeding or breathing, or
  • if it is increasing rapidly in size with bleeding and ulceration

Treatment options include:

  • oral steroids or medication
  • laser
  • surgery

Full answer here.

9. Baby drinking less milk than normal? Here's what to know

milk feeding problems

If your child weighs about 5.5kg, he or she will require 120-150ml/kg of formula milk daily.

However, babies sometimes can have short periods of growth spurts when they drink a lot, and other times when they drink lesser.

Full answer here.

10. Waiting for your child to "outgrow" acne may be too late. Get it treated ASAP to prevent scarring

acne in adults

About 20% of children get acne that persists into adulthood.

This can result in permanent scarring, hence it's important to treat it early.

Full answer here.

11. The golden window for your child to get assessed for braces: ages 8 - 10

braces for children singapore

braces for children singapore

It's better to get your child checked regularly from a younger age so they don't "miss the boat" for corrective treatments.

For example, expanders to expand the jaws may prevent the need for teeth extraction later on.

Full answer here.

12. Frequent eye blinking may be habitual, but other causes need to be ruled out by a proper eye examination

constant eye blinking in children

Frequent blinking in young children is very common. It can be due to eye irritation or blurred vision, so it's important to see an eye specialist for a proper eye examination.

Full answer here.

13. Squinting and lazy eyes must be treated before the age of 8, or it cannot be reversed

Visual maturity is reached at the age of 8 years old.

If patching is not done properly before this age, there is a high risk that the lazy eye cannot be reversed anymore.

Full answer here.

14. Cafe au lait birthmarks are easily removed, but get your child checked if she has >6 brown patches

cafe au lait brthmarks

Café au lait are harmless brown birthmarks. They can be easily removed with lasers when your child is aged 10.

However if she has 6 or more brown patches, you should bring her to see a paediatrician or dermatologist to ensure she has no other associated disorders.

Full answer here.

15. Don't remove earwax ear wax in children

Cleaning the ear may cause infections as harmless bacteria in the ear gets cleared away, allowing harmful organisms to grow.

Really bothered by earwax? One helpful tip is to apply a few drops of clean olive oil into each ear after a shower. This helps to keep earwax soft and runny so that it flows out more easily.

Full answer here.

16. Frequent nosebleeds are easily treatable

nose bleeding in children singapore

In Singapore, nosebleeds are often due to recurrent sneezing, which causes tiny blood vessels in the nose to break.

This is easily treated by applying a special silver nitrate stick to the area in clinic.

Full answer here.

17. Tongue ties should be assessed and treated early

childhood problems - tongue lip tie

Your baby is more likely to cooperate when the tongue tie is treated at an earlier age.

By the time he or she's a toddler, sedation may be necessary for his or her safety.

Full answer here.

18. Important tips to improve your baby's sleep

child not sleeping well at night

quick tips for children that cannot sleep well at night singapore

The following can all affect your baby's sleep:

  1. Medications
  2. Food with colouring or salt, as well as snacks like chocolates
  3. Allergies that cause them to snore
  4. Attachment problems

Children below 2 years old should get ZERO screen time. Anything that emits light will affect the sleep hormone.

Full answer here.

Would you like to ask any related health questions?

You can Ask A Doctor right away, or view the complete list of Human Sessions.

I hope that you've found this guide useful, and perhaps gained more insight into the application process. Most of the admissions-related information (admin and logistics wise) can be found on the official NUS Faculty of Dentistry website.

To help yourself out, you should take note of what people look for when they look for a dentist.

This article was written by Dr Annabelle Leong and published on Wednesday, 25 January 2017. Human medically reviewed the article on Wednesday, 25 January 2017. The last update was made on Friday, 18 September 2020.

Disclaimer: Opinions belong to the author and not to the platform.

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