Kids get sick and have accidents. That’s just a fact of life. But how do you know when to call the doctor or head to the ER? With so many things going on, it can be hard for parents to decide what is an emergency and what isn’t.
Some emergencies are life-threatening and should be treated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are some warning signs that parents can look for to know when it is time to visit a pediatric emergency room near you.
What are the Most Common Emergencies in Children?
If there is any doubt about the matter, you should visit the best children’s emergency room near you. Waiting too long can make an accident serious and even life-threatening. Some pediatric emergencies to watch out for include:
- Coughing fits that last longer than an hour without a break or a fever that lasts longer than three days without improvement
- Pneumonia symptoms including a persistent cough, chest pain, ear pain, vomiting, and fever
- Stomach pains that are accompanied by bloody diarrhea or vomiting blood or black tarry stool
- Severe head injury leading to vomiting, loss of consciousness, or confusion after a fall
- Ear infection for three days without improvement if your child is six months old or older. Symptoms include fever, tugging at the affected ear, and decreased activity level.
- Fever or flu-like symptoms with a stiff neck
- Difficulty breathing; wheezing; noisy breathing; chest pulling in with each breath; retractions (breathing out through pursed lips); inability to drink liquids or speak more than a few words without pausing for a breath; blue lips and nails. Or Quiet, labored breathing that is not normal for your child or a change in your child’s ability to participate in activities. When you notice shortness of breath, visit a baby emergency room near you immediately.
- Injury to a part of the body, especially if it’s bleeding excessively or there is a significant deformity or open wound. The most common emergencies include amputation of a finger, toe, hand, or foot, broken bones that have pierced through the skin (open fracture), and gunshot wounds.
- Dehydration, especially from vomiting and diarrhea, can lead to shock. In this situation, your child will be weak, lethargic, and thirsty with dry skin all over the body.
- Seizures. They can start suddenly and last anywhere from a few seconds to 2 minutes, with the child staring blankly into space before shaking all over, usually followed by waking up tired or thirsty. The child will be extremely tired for an hour after the seizure. Seizures may indicate epilepsy or head injury; both of these are serious and need a trip to an emergency room near you.
- Sun exposure can lead to heatstroke or sunburn. Symptoms include bright red or blue skin, rosy cheeks and lips, hot skin with no sweating, high fever (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit), dizziness or headache, nausea, or vomiting. Sunstroke can be fatal if it is not treated quickly.
- Allergic reactions, which can restrict or constrict the airway. Symptoms include swelling of the throat and face, hives, itching, wheezing, trouble breathing.
- Airway blockages may lead to suffocation. Symptoms include being unable to cough or speak even when stimulated; pale or blue skin, wheezing, or gurgling.
- Heart issues that may lead to heart failure. Symptoms include weak pulse in the arms and legs, shortness of breath with exertion, fatigue.
What Happens At A Pediatric Emergency Room?
The pediatric emergency room is where patients present with an illness or injury receive immediate attention. The pediatric ER works as the front line for pediatricians to diagnose and treat patients in need of urgent medical assistance. Patients will be seen by a pediatrician, pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), pediatric residents, or pediatric emergency medicine fellows.
There’s no way to know how long you’ll have to wait to be seen by an emergency pediatric doctor. If your child has a serious medical issue, you can trust that the doctors will give them the care they require right away. There’s a good chance if you come with a minor injury that you’ll be delayed further because pediatric ER’s are often understaffed. But, it is important to inform the medical personnel if your child’s condition worsens while you are waiting to see a doctor.
Also, ensure you check with the medical staff before offering anything to your kid. In some cases, your physician may advise against feeding or drinking anything.
Your child will probably be seen by a nurse right away when you arrive at the ER, who will conduct a preliminary examination, check vital signs, and make a fast diagnosis. The triage of your kid’s medical needs is based on the gravity of the condition.
You may be asked to sign consent for treatment forms and answer a few questions. If you have health insurance, make sure to bring your member card with you. After assessment and treatment, your child may be discharged. The pediatric emergency room doctors typically determine when a pediatric patient is ready to be discharged.
In some cases, pediatric patients need to be admitted to the pediatric hospital for further treatment.
Visit Memorial Heights ER if you are looking for the best pediatric emergency room near you for assistance.