When to take your child to the ER

GRAND RAPIDS,  Mich. (WOTV) It can be difficult for parents to know when to take their children to the ER. Maranda sat down with Dr. Abeba Berhane, Academic General Pediatrics Division at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital to get some answers to that and how to deal with fevers and poisons. 

Causes of fever:

  • infection, chemicals, poison, hot environment
  • Rectal thermometer is most accurate — must use 3 months and younger, but can be used up to 3 years of age
  • True fever is defined as temperature greater than 38.0C or 100.4F
  • Not all fevers are considered a medical emergency
Call your pediatrician right away if:
  • Younger than 3 months of age
  • Has a condition causing a weak immune system
  • cancer, sickle cell disease, medications suppressing the immune system
 Red Flag Symptoms:
• If your child has a fever and experiencing any of the following symptoms
  • Ill appearing, drowsiness, or extreme fussiness
  • Stiff neck,  severe headache or seizures
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • Concern for dehydration (i.e. not taking fluids well)
• Any other concerning symptoms, always call your pediatrician
Fever control:
• Keep your child comfortable and in light clothing
• Give your child liquids to drink and keep him/her calm
• Your pediatrician can recommended fever medications
  • Tylenol or Motrin
  • Never give Aspirin to your child
• Swallowed poisons
  • Do not give your child anything to eat or drink.  Have your child spit out any remaining substance in the mouth, but do not induce vomiting.
• Skin poisons
  • Remove any clothing, rinse with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.  Do not scrub the skin.
• Fumes/Gas
  • Seek fresh air first, and then call 911.   If the child is not breathing, start CPR until help arrives
• If child is unconscious, drowsy, or having difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately.
• Poison Control Center offers free, confidential medical advice
  •  Call 1-800-222-1222
  •  Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
• Prevention is key
  • Store any potential harmful substances in locked cabinets & containers
  • Buy medications with safety caps
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