Abdominal Pain

Advice for Parents and Carers

When should you worry?

If your child has any of the following:

  • Becomes pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to touch
  • Is going blue around the lips
  • Becomes confused or very lethargic (difficult to wake)
  • Has green or blood stained vomit
  • Develops severe pain despite pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Has testicular pain (especially in teenage boys)
  • Is under 3 months of age with a temperature of 38°C / 100.4°F or above (unless fever in the 48 hours following vaccinations and no other red or amber features)

You child needs urgent help

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

If your child has any of the following:

  • Develops a swollen tummy
  • Has blood in their poo or wee
  • Experiences constant pain for more than 1 day despite pain killers
  • Has pain on urination (going for a wee)
  • Becomes increasingly thirsty
  • Is weeing significantly more or less than normal
  • Develops yellow skin or eyes
  • Has weight loss
  • 3-6 months of age with a temperature of 39°C / 102.2°F or above (but fever is common in babies up to 2 days after they receive vaccinations)
  • Continues to have a fever of 38.0°C or more for more than 5 days

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today

Please ring your GP surgery or contact NHS 111 for advice – dial 111 or for children aged 5 years and above visit 111.nhs.uk

At peak times, access to a health care professional may be delayed. If symptoms persist for 4 hours or more and you have not been able to speak to either a member of staff from your GP practice or to NHS 111 staff, then consider taking them to your nearest ED

If your child:

  • Is alert and interacts with you
  • Develops diarrhoea & vomiting but no red or amber signs
  • Experiences pain associated with menstruation in a girl
  • Is frequently constipated
  • Additional advice is also available to young families for coping with crying of well babies – click here

Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, contact NHS 111 – dial 111 or for children aged 5 years and above visit 111.nhs.uk

What do I do if I am worried my child has sepsis?

  • Get advice from a doctor or healthcare professional or ring 111
  • Your child will need to be examined and have a set of vital signs measured (temperature, heart rate and blood pressure)

Remember most children with fevers or who are unwell, don’t have sepsis


There is no one test to see if your child has sepsis.  The tests to look for the infection will vary depending on their age, symptoms and medical history. They can include blood tests, urine tests, chest X-rays and occasionally lumbar puncture (needle in the back to collect spinal fluid)

Your healthcare team should talk to you about any tests or procedures they would like to do, what will happen and what they are for


If you're worried that your child or baby is not getting better, still seems unwell or is not themselves, you should talk to a doctor or other healthcare professional. It is important to ask for advice if you're worried, even if you have already seen a doctor, are still having treatment, or are back home. This is because the problems caused by sepsis can come on very quickly, and you may need more (or different) treatment. You should always feel that you can ask questions at any point in your care.

Symptoms of sepsis - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Sepsis: what to look out for and what care you should expect (nice.org.uk)

Paediatric-Leaflet.pdf (sepsistrust.org)​​​​​

  • Ensure your child has regular drink (clear fluids), pain relief (paracetamol/ ibuprofen should be given as per manufacturers instructions) and food if they want to eat
  • Find more advice on tummy ache
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