What to do when your child is sick…
What should you do if your child is sick or is injured? What if he develops a fever, cough, vomiting, rash, sore throat or head injury? When can your child return to school or child care after an illness? These are medical advice questions that all parents have.
Is it an Emergency?
An emergency is when you believe a severe injury or illness is threatening your child’s health or may cause permanent harm or death. In these cases, your child needs emergency medical treatment right away – CALL 911.
Any of the following signs indicate a life threatening condition:
- Your child is acting strangely, is increasingly withdrawn and less alert
- Unconsciousness or no response when you talk to your child
- Rhythmic jerking and loss of consciousness (a seizure)
- Increasing effort or trouble with breathing
- Skin or lips that look blue, purple, or gray
- Neck stiffness or a rash with fever
- Increasing or severe persistent pain
- A cut that is large, deep, or involves the head, chest, or abdomen
- Significant bleeding that does not stop after applying pressure for 5 minutes
- A burn that is large or involves the hands, feet, groin, chest or face
- Any loss of consciousness, confusion, headache, or vomiting after a head injury
Many emergencies involve sudden injuries. If your child is injured in the following manner, it is important that you have your child evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible even if you believe your child is not exhibiting symptoms or says they are not hurt:
- Bicycle or car crashes
- Burns or smoke inhalation
- Near drowning
- Firearms or other weapons
- Electric shocks
- Poisoning (Call your Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 at once if your child has swallowed a suspected poison or another person’s medication, even if your child has no signs or symptoms.)
Call 911 for help if you are concerned that your child’s life may be in danger or that your child is seriously ill or injured.
In Case of An Emergency
- Stay calm.
- Start rescue breathing or CPR if your child is not breathing.
- Call 911 if you need immediate help. If you do not have 911 service in your area, call your local emergency ambulance service or county emergency medical service. Most cell phones reach 911, but you will have to tell the operator where you are.
- Do not move your injured child unless he is in immediate danger (for example, from a fire).
- Apply continuous pressure to any site of bleeding with a clean cloth.
- If your child is having a seizure, place your child on the floor with her head and body turned to the side. Do not put anything in her mouth.
- Stay with your child until help arrives.
- Bring any medication your child is taking with you to the hospital. Also bring any suspected poisons or other medications your child might have taken.
After you arrive at the emergency department, make sure you tell the emergency staff your child’s pediatrician is Dr. Todd David Habel or Dr. Kathryn O’Malley with Muddy Creek Pediatrics. They will call us if they need to consult with us or require additional information from your child’s records.
Important Emergency Phone Numbers
- Your home phone number and address
- Muddy Creek Pediatrics (name, phone, after-hours phone)
- Dr. Todd Habel or Dr. Kathryn O’Malley 513.398.3900
- Emergency Medical Services (ambulance and paramedic) Phone 911 in most areas
- Police Phone (911 in most areas)
- Fire Department Phone (911 in most areas)
- Poison Control Center Phone (1-800-222-1222)
- Preferred Hospital Emergency Department
- Dentist (name, phone, after-hours phone)
If your child has special care needs, it is important to have an Emergency Information Form (EIF) or similar form that describes the special health care needs of your child for emergency care providers. This form is available from the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org) and the American College of Emergency Physicians. Attach this form to the emergency information above and give it to the first emergency care person to see your child.
It is important that baby-sitters and child care providers have these numbers and know the following:
- How to dial 911 or your local emergency number
- Whether 911 can be reached from a cell phone in your area
- Your home address (directions to your home) and phone number (an emergency operator would ask for this)
- Location of a spare car safety seat
- Location of the child’s EIF and key rescue medications (such as an inhaler) in the home
- The telephone number and address where parents can be located
- A neighbor who could respond to an emergency
Remember, for nonemergency conditions, first call us. If you believe that an injury or illness is threatening your child’s health or may cause permanent harm, call for an ambulance. If your child is seriously ill or injured, it is safer for your child to be transported to the emergency department by ambulance.
If it is not an Emergency.
Many of us call our mom first to get advice for non-emergency health concerns. Calling us here at Muddy Creek Pediatrics is always a fail-safe option in the event of uncertainty. However, there is reliable information available online, which Muddy Creek Pediatrics endorses. Since health problems can arise anytime – evenings, weekends, when you’re at work or traveling or when our office office is closed, these resources can be tremendously helpful.
The KidsDoc Symptom Checker from the American Academy of Pediatrics is designed especially for these times. The care guides help you make smart decisions on what level of care (if any) is needed and how to provide speedy symptom relief for minor illnesses or injuries you can manage on your own. KidsDoc is derived from the clinical protocols used by pediatricians and nurses in 10,000 practices and 400 nurse advice call centers in the US and Canada. They have been tested for 15 years on more than 150 million symptom calls.
Once you arrive there and choose a symptom to investigate, you will find a Decision Chart which helps determine what action is suggested based on the severity and description of your symptom. For example, here is one for head injuries. Once you have a match, simply follow the corresponding action, such as Call 911, Call Your Child’s Doctor Now, Call Your Child’s Doctor within 24 hours or Manage at Home.
Home Care Advice is available for any illnesses and injuries that can be treated at home. The instructions provide clear, up-to-date steps for relieving symptoms. Pediatric dosage tables by weight for common over-the-counter medications are also provided.
Immediate Connections to medical help, such as 911, your child’s doctor or nearby Emergency Department (ER) are available if you have phone service. You will also find visual images to help you identify symptoms (e.g. rashes), injuries and common causes of bites & stings, and First Aid illustrations to support immediate action, if needed.