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Everyone wants to be a responsible parent. If your child is in distress, then you’ll have a natural urge to help them. However, you might not always know the best way to do that.
For instance, if your child is running a high fever when you should take them to a hospital? If they seem to be in respiratory distress, should you immediately call 911?
It’s essential to know the answer to these questions, so let’s look at a few instances where you should seek medical help for your child.
Fevers that Don’t Go Away
If your child is six months to 2 years old and has a fever that’s 103 degrees or higher, you need to take action. The temperature could be a sign of:
- An infection that the body is fighting
- The body boosting the immune system because of an imminent threat
There’s no need to panic. You can combat the fever with ibuprofen. However, if the temperature does not go away within 4-6 hours, you should call the child’s doctor.
The doctor might recommend taking the child to an emergency room. If an infection is causing the fever, and the ibuprofen can’t fight it off, then medical professionals may need to take more drastic actions. Antibiotic treatment might be the next move.
A Serious Cut
Your child might also cut themselves. That could happen due to:
- Playing with something sharp
- Falling while playing
- Running into something
You can handle most smaller cuts by washing them out with soap and water and then applying a bandage. But sometimes, your child might sustain a cut that’s wider and deeper.
A wider cut, or one that won’t stop bleeding even when you apply pressure, is probably going to need stitches. You can take the child to an emergency room, or an urgent care facility. They can give the child a local anesthetic there and stitch them up.
Possible Allergic Reactions
If your child is itchy and vomiting, then either of those by themselves might not be an allergic reaction. However, if those go along with a swollen tongue, or swollen eyes or lips, then all of that together likely means they’re having an allergic reaction, and you need to take action.
That’s a situation where you can call 911 since there is no time to waste. If you know what your child is allergic to and have an epi-pen handy for the purpose, then you can use it.
If this is a new allergy, then you likely won’t have an epi-pen. You’ll have little choice but to wait for the ambulance.
However, as they’re on their way, try to figure out what has happened to the child that might have caused the reaction. If they can communicate with you, ask them if anything bit or stung them, or if they came into contact with anything unusual.
Respiratory distress means your child can’t seem to breathe easily. They might be grunting, panting, or making a whistling noise. You might see their chest or abdomen sucking in and out.
If you know that your child has asthma, then this is likely an asthma attack. If you have an albuterol rescue inhaler, then you can administer it to them.
However, if your child doesn’t have asthma that you are aware of, it might be something else. It could be pneumonia, croup, or whooping cough. They might even be choking on something.
None of these are conditions where you should waste any time. Brain damage or death can result from the inability to breathe. Again, this is where it would be appropriate to call 911 and follow the operator’s directions until help arrives.
A severe headache is probably caused to call the doctor, especially if the child is also vomiting. This could be a migraine. Migraine headaches aren’t fatal, but they’re incredibly uncomfortable for the child, and you’ll want to take steps to help them.
Stomach pain is also something that would necessitate a doctor’s call. It could be appendicitis if it is on the lower right side.
With children and sudden ailments, it is better to reach out to a doctor or emergency services rather than wait to see what will happen or hope it goes away. You never want to have the burden of guilt because you waited rather than seeking help.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.