Kids – Medical Emergencies
Is It A Medical Emergency Or Not?
It’s a fact – Kids get hurt. Sometimes it is very obvious that the injury requires a trip to the Emergency Room.
But other times it is much more difficult to judge whether the injury needs professional intervention or can be treated at home.
Different problems require different levels of care. When your child needs some sort of medical help you have many options, you can:
Treat The Problem At Home
If you are unsure of the severity of the injury or illness always seek professional medical assistance.
Visit The Urgent Care Center
If your doctor is not available an urgent care centre is a good alternative to the emergency room (if there is one in your area). These centers can do things like take x-rays, stitch wounds and care for minor, non life threatening injuries and illnesses that need attention quickly.
Go To The Hospital Emergency Room(ER)
also know as emergency department (ED)
The emergency room is able to handle a large range of serious problems, including common illnesses and injuries such as severe bleeding, breathing difficulties, trauma, seizures, meningitis, dehydration and serious infections.
Phone For An Ambulance
In serious situations where the child may need medical care on the way to the hospital, always call an ambulance. These may include:
- If the child has been in a car accident
- If the child is not breathing or turning blue
- If the child has a head injury or neck injury
- If the child has taken too much medication and is unresponsive
When To Go To The Emergency Room
If your child shows any of the symptoms below you must take them to the emergency room ASAP or call an ambulance.
- Any shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- If the child becomes unusually sleepy, is difficult to rouse, is disorientated or confused
- If the child has an injury that won’t stop bleeding
- If the child has a stiff neck with a fever
- If there is a rapid heartbeat that will not slow down
- If the child has taken too much medication or any other poisonous substance
- If there has been any significant head trauma
If you have no way of getting to the emergency room call an ambulance.
When The Emergency Room May Not Be Necessary
Sometimes certain illnesses and injuries can seem alarming but generally do not need to go to the emergency room. For the list below a visit to your doctor should suffice.
- Having a high fever
- Having ear pain
- Having pains in the stomach
- Having a headache that doesn’t stop
- Minor rashes
- Mild wheezing
- Having a persistent cough
Using an Urgent Care Center (if available)
If your child has an injury or illness that is not life threatening but needs professional medical attention the same day, an urgent care center is an excellent alternative to the emergency room.
Most urgent care centers have extended hours and you usually do not need an appointment to see a doctor.
You might go to an urgent care center if your child has:
- A cut or abrasion
- Has a minor injury
- Has vomiting or diarrhea
- Has ear pain
- Has a sore throat
- Has an infected bite or sting
- Has a mild allergic reaction
- Has a suspected sprain or broken bone
- Has a minor animal bite
Many doctors who work at urgent care centers are family doctors or emergency room doctors well practiced in treating both adult and children diseases and injuries.
It’s Your Call
Sometimes it can be hard for parents to judge the severity of the illness or injury, when unsure it is important to get advice from a medical professional, if your doctor is not available you may give the hospital or another medical professional a call, in most cases they are more than happy to help you.
If you know that the injury or illness is minor you should give your doctor a call, go to an urgent care centre or treat the problem at home. Emergency rooms are very crowded and treatment is performed via the priority level of the injury or illness. Minor injuries will take a long time to be treated.