Sometimes it can be hard to tell what warrants a trip to the emergency room especially when you are a first-time parent. Moms like Neri Naig wants to be safer than sorry, so she doesn't care if she gets labeled as an “OA (over reacting)” mom for bringing her 1-year-old son Miggy to the hospital frequently. She explains, “Kapag di ako mapalagay, dinadala ko talaga si Miggy sa ospital para mas maalagaan pa si Miggy at mas mapanatag isip ko na [okay] si Miggy."
If you want to sharpen your instincts further, here's a quick guide to common childhood ailments and the red flags to watch out for that require a trip to the ER immediately. Needless to say, always seek medical attention for any concerns about your child's health. And don't hesitate.
Nosebleeds Many children between the ages of 2 and 10 get a nosebleed,it usually not serious. However, it can be a sign of a medical problem:
If the child is under 2 years of age
If the nosebleed lasts for more than 20 minutes
If the bleeding comes right after an injury like a fall or a serious blow to the head or nose
If the bleeding is heavy and there has been a lot of blood loss
If the patient has swallowed a lot of blood and is vomiting
If the nosebleed accompanies other symptoms like bleeding gums or rashes; this can be sign of dengue
When administering first aid for a nosebleed, do not let your child tilt her head back. The blood can trickle down her throat and irritate the stomach and cause vomiting. Instead, have your child sit upright and lean forward, then pinch the soft part (below the bony part) of her nose shut. Stay in this position for 5 to 10 minutes.
Stomach pain Intense pain in the lower right side is a sign of appendicitis. Before this, your child will experience a dull ache around his belly button. The pain can also worsen if pressure is applied to the area of the appendix and when she coughs, moves, or takes deep breaths.
“Appendicitis is a surgical emergency,” Dr. Jamie Isip-Cumpas, a pediatrician from Parkview Children’s Clinic in Makati, told SmartParenting.com.ph. Take your child to the ER immediately. For more signs that a stomach ache is serious, click here.
Vomiting Green vomit should never be ignored, said Dr. Claire McCarthy, a primary care pediatrician and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, in an article for Harvard Health. Bile, a fluid that’s secreted by the liver, is green in color. When this comes up when your child vomits, it’s a sign that there’s a blockage in the intestines.
Also, if your child's vomiting is severe, watch out for signs of dehydration. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, sunken eyes, no tears when crying, and excessive sleepiness or lethargy, according to Mayo Clinic. Dehydration can cause serious complications including low blood volume shock, which can be life-threatening.
Fever “Slight elevation of temperature that does not cause distress in the child may not require medical attention,” Dr. Luis P. Gatmaitan, a medical doctor and a children's book author, told us. However, bring your child to a doctor if the fever persists despite a round-the-clock paracetamol treatment, gets higher, is recurrent or is accompanied by seizures or rashes, said Dr. Gatmaitan.
Infants below 3 months old with a fever, whether high or low, need immediate medical attention. “The very young have very minimal symptoms. The only sign of a serious infection may just be a fever,” Dr. Carmina Arriola-Delos Reyes, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, explains. For more signs that a fever is a sign of something serious, click here.
Wound If a cut doesn’t stop bleeding after applying firm and steady pressure for 5 minutes, then it’s time to seek emergency care for your child, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Consider how your child got the wound as well, said physician Dr. Irene Gardiner. A wound contaminated with dirt or feces, or caused by a puncture from a nail or needle can cause tetanus, which requires your child to get shots. Animal bites, or even just a scratch, can cause rabies, a fatal condition if not treated immediately. For anything that worries you “There is no such thing as an unnecessary doctor's appointment when a parent has concerns,” said Dr. Sahira Long, the medical director of Children’s Health Center at Anacostia, Children’s National Health System, told SheKnows. A parent knows their child best. If you feel your child needs to see a doctor right away, don’t hesitate to bring her to the hospital.