How does a parent know when medical intervention is needed for a baby with something that seems common, like simple cough and colds, or a slight fever? There are ailments common to children. You should be mindful of the symptoms that will tell you when you should bundle him up, get inside your car, and drive to the nearest emergency room.
For a child with fever, do not give paracetamol immediately to bring it down. Unless your doctor tells you to and gives you the right dosage, you must wait for official word. While you’re at home, conventional therapy for a fever is lots of fluids and cool sponge baths. A fever is the body’s way of fighting infections, so don’t give medications immediately. If the temperature is a lot higher than the normal reading, and the fever does not subside within two to three days of conventional treatment, you should rush to the hospital. High fever requires immediate lowering as they can sometimes lead to seizures called febrile convulsions. Also do something immediately when there is vomiting and laborious breathing observed. These could be indications of something graver. If you wait any longer, you may see lethargy, irritability, and unresponsiveness.
For vomiting and diarrhea, go to the doctor if your child shows signs of dehydration despite constant fluid replacement: listless, weak, and unable to take anything in. Additional signs also include sunken eyes, dry mouth, tongue, and skin, paleness, and decreasing urine output. Infants get dehydrated rather quickly and should be brought to the doctor right away to be given intravenous fluids. Also note the character of the stool and vomit, and their frequency. These could make the situation worse and should therefore be observed closely.
Moreover, viral respiratory infections are fairly frequent in children throughout the year. What is important is to know when a viral infection turns into a bacterial infection. While these can be treated in five or six days, you should only administer antibiotics under doctor’s orders. Let the expert determine the need and type of cure you should give. If you see clear phlegm turn to yellow or green, don’t wait for clinic hours. Your child may already experience difficulty breathing. Be more watchful if your little one suffers from asthma and other chronic conditions. Provide supportive therapy when you can and give him lots of water to loosen the hard sticky phlegm found in his lungs.
Children go through many forms of ailments as they grow up. The important thing is not to belittle these symptoms. Consulting early for medical advice can do wonders for your peace of mind and minimize the chances of complications later on, while delaying medical consultations for too long could lead to serious, or even deadly, consequences. Remember, when a visit to the ER is called for, don’t hold it off any longer. When in doubt, bringing him in should be your first defense. If your baby doesn’t look right to you, trust your gut instincts and go to the experts immediately. It’s a lot better than waiting it out at home.