When to seek help when your child is sick

Find out when to treat your sick child at home and when to seek help.

Do you find yourself running around like a headless chicken when your child is sick. If this happens to you more often than not, don't panic. Instead, stay calm and level-headed to properly treat your baby effectively. However, it would be wise to learn when to seek medical help as well as emergency care.

1. Fever

Most parents are quite adept in handling their children in case fever strikes. They immediately give paracetamol in hopes of lowering the child’s temperature.

While doing this is quite effective, parents need to understand that fevers are caused by underlying illnesses and infections. If your child’s active and cheerful disposition isn’t hampered by the fever, it is probably safe to continue self-medication.

When to seek help: When your child is sick and the fever doesn’t respond to medication, remains consistently high or continues after 3 days, it is time to see a doctor.

2. Diarrhea

When your child is sick and suffering from diarrhea, you should immediately act to restore lost fluids. Electrolyte drinks and lots of juices should be given apart from the usual diet.

When to seek help: If diarrhea persists and your child is weakened, a trip to the doctor is in order. Should the diarrhea be accompanied with vomiting and nausea, it is best to rush your child to the emergency room.

3. Common cold

Children get a cold several times around the year, so much that parents already know what to do. Apart from constantly sucking out mucus from the child’s nose, saline drops are also given to ease a stuffy nose. Older children are normally given cold or cough medicine.

When to seek help: Newborns or babies with extremely high fever who are suffering from a cold need to visit the doctor immediately.

4. Ear infection

When your child is sick and is constantly rubbing or tugging one/both ears, it is best to check for ear infection. Even though you feel sure about the ear infection, never give antibiotics without a doctor’s orders. Emergency or not, children who may be suffering from an ear infection need to see the doctor immediately.

5. Emergency care

When your child is sick and you feel helpless, you should immediately seek emergency care. Here are some of the situations wherein you must rush to the hospital immediately:

Severe head trauma

Non-stop bleeding

Epilepsy

Severe burns and cuts

Blood in stool or urine

Severe pain anywhere in the body

Purplish, bluish or grayish skin and lips

Constantly screaming or suddenly becoming unconscious

Breathing difficulty

When rushing your child to the hospital emergency room, make sure that you are calm enough to relay the symptoms of your child to the attending doctors and nurses. Tell them about your child’s medical history as well as the medications you have previously given in the past 24 hours. Precise and accurate responses to the doctor's questions can help instantly determine what treatment your child needs.

When your child is sick, do you really know what to do? Have you ever had to seek help for your sick child? Tell us about your experiences. For more information on treating children’s illness, watch this video: