HealthDoctor Karen

My 5-year-old daughter has been off form for days

Doctor KarenBy Dr. Karen Palmer
My 5-year-old daughter has been off form for days

Dear Karen,

She is not sleeping properly at night and napping during the day. Could she be coming down with an infection?

KAREN SAYS: I understand your concern! You know when your own child is off form. It would be helpful to know if she had any background medical problems, whether she has had similar symptoms previously. It is always helpful to have an overall medical picture of any patient that you are dealing with.

I would be very interested to know if there have been any changes in your daughter’s life recently. Has there been any change to her routine or in her life. Any little girl who is not sleeping during the night is tired during day. With regard to an infection, it is always very helpful to watch her temperature and her overall form and whether she is eating and drinking or not.

It is difficult to be certain reader, but my sense is that this is not necessarily a medical problem. If you can, stop your daughter from napping during the day. Keep her physically active so she is tired during the night, try and settle her routine and see how she goes. Obviously it would be helpful; to ask her if there is anything upsetting her or troubling her. Finally, watch her temperature. If it spikes get her checked out by your GP.

Dear Karen,

My mother’s memory seems to be disimproving over the last year. However, over the last couple of days things are definitely worse. She is looking for our dog that has been gone for the last ten years. She refuses to see a doctor. What can I do?

KAREN SAYS: How very stressful for your Mum and yourself! If you have noticed a deterioration in your Mum’s baseline functioning over the last year then she is obviously deteriorating. It is possible that there is some form of dementia here.

However, a sharp deterioration over the last couple of days is not consistent with this. Dehydration, constipation, inappropriate use of medication, infection or even a mild stroke could cause an acute onset of confusion. The bottom line is reader, I feel your mum has a physical problem at the moment.

Maybe your local GP might do a house call and assess the situation. Your mum needs an examination, urinalysis, blood tests and possibly other investigations e.g. chest x-ray, ECG or a CT brain Scan.

Whatever about the acute situation, reader, her overall memory function needs to be looked at as well as there may be a remediable cause. Your mum needs help.