(CMR) Parents sometimes take a wait-and-see approach when their children are displaying symptoms of being sick; however, there are some symptoms that experts advise parents never to ignore.
Here are some symptoms that Parents Magazine advises parents to consider emergencies:
Fever- A fever that's 100.4F or higher in a baby younger than 3 months; higher than 101F in a baby 3 to 6 months; or higher than 103F in a child 6 months to 2 years. If you've given your child a fever reducer like acetaminophen or ibuprofen and the number on the thermometer doesn't budge within four to six hours, call your pediatrician. This is a sign that the infection may be too strong for the body to fight off, and your doctor may want to do a thorough examination to determine the cause.
A Fever with a headache- A fever that's accompanied by a stiff neck or headache or a rash that's either bruise-like or looks like tiny red dots. Call your doctor immediately, as these can be signs of meningitis which requires medical attention.
Circle-shape rash- A rash that resembles a bull's-eye or consists of tiny red dots that don't disappear when you press the skin, or excessive bruising
A ring-shaped rash with a pale spot in the center can signify Lyme disease. Get help right away if you see pinpoint-size spots under the skin, which can signal many serious conditions. Any inexplicable, widespread bruising may be a sign of a possible blood disorder. In addition, a splotchy rash, often a little raised, couldbe a sign of an allergic reaction. If your child also has difficulty breathing or is agitated or lethargic, she should be checked immediately by a doctor.
A mole that's new or changing- Keep tabs on your child's moles, especially any that they've had since birth, because those have a higher risk of becoming malignant. Do a monthly skin check during bathtime. Alert your doctor if you notice a mole that's irregularly shaped, has ragged borders, is not all one color, or is raised. All of these are signs of potential skin cancer.
Sudden stomach pain- If your child has pain on the lower right side, ask them to jump up and down—if it's excruciating to do so, it can be a sign of appendicitis. Although the appendix is on the lower right side of the abdomen, the pain caused by appendicitis can start around the belly button and migrate to the right.
If your child is under age 4 and has stomach pain that causes him to double over one minute and be fine the next, it could be a sign of intussusception, a serious disorder usually affecting young kids where one part of the intestine slides into the other. The pain shows up in 20- to 60-minute increments and can be accompanied by vomiting, fever, blood in the stool, or bowel movements that have a telltale “currant jelly” appearance. “
Headache with vomiting- These could be signs of a migraine. Your doctor can determine the appropriate treatment. Migraines in kids are not dangerous and tend to run in families. However, morning and middle-of-the-night headaches can also be a signal of something more serious, and that's why you want to see a doctor right away.
Reduced urination- Dry mouth and lips, decreased urination, a flat fontanelle (in infants), dry skin or skin that stays bunched when you pinch it, or excessive vomiting or diarrhea are signs all associated with dehydration and need to be treated fast because dehydration can lead to shock. Call 911 or get to the hospital if you think your child is nearing this stage. Otherwise, call your doc and try to get more fluid into your child.
Blueness or discoloration around the mouth – This, along with labored breathing where you can see your child sucking in his chest and abdomen; or panting, grunting, or a whistling sound, indicates breathing problems. Critical breathing issues are often due to choking, an allergic reaction, an asthma attack—which can occur in kids as young as a few months old—pneumonia, whooping cough, or croup. Seek help right away or call 911.
Swollen face- Swollen tongue, lips, or eyes, especially when accompanied by vomiting or itchiness, often signal a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Symptoms may include swelling, breathing problems, and severe hives and need immediate attention. Call 911 and, if possible, give your child a shot from an EpiPen or a dose of an antihistamine like Benadryl in the meantime. For less severe reactions, call your doctor and ask about giving an antihistamine to quell symptoms.
Vomiting after falling- A fall when your child is less than 6 months old or has obvious neurological changes like confusion or loss of consciousness or that causes vomiting and/or any damage to the body, such as broken bones, are emergency situations that must be addressed by a doctor. Falls are generally not problematic in kids older than 6 months if they only fall the distance of their height and don't land on anything hard or sharp.
Excessive Bleeding- A cut that gapes open widely enough that you could stick a cotton swab in it, or that doesn't stop bleeding within a few minutes of applied pressure are signs that your child needs medical attention (and perhaps stitches, skin glue, a butterfly bandage, or staples). Depending on the severity of the injury, your next step should be to either call 911, go to the E.R., or call your pediatrician. You should also always see your doctor if an animal bites your child or if another child bites your child and breaks the skin.