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When you are a parent or child care provider, it seems like some kids can have a medical crisis daily – that is, a crisis in their minds. A poked eye, a bumped head, a skinned knee, or even vomiting can seem like the end of the world to them. Add to that the number of illnesses children often run through, and you can sometimes wonder how children survive to adulthood. 

When you are a new parent, you can be alarmed at each new episode, but as time goes on, you may come to realize that encountering situations where your young children get sick or injured will be a pattern in your life – at least for a period. You learn not to panic every time. But while many minor ailments can be handled effectively at home, there are instances when seeking the services of a healthcare professional is essential. Unfortunately, there are no foolproof guidelines that will always work in making the right call, but understanding the general circumstances in which professional care is warranted helps ensure your child’s well-being and safety. 

Let’s explore some guidelines on when to consult a healthcare provider rather than attempting to manage the situation independently.


Severe Symptoms

When it comes to your child’s health, it’s crucial to recognize severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention. One severe symptom that should never be ignored is a high fever – generally greater than 102 degrees Fahrenheit (or, for newborns, greater than 100 degrees). Be aware that not every type of thermometer works the same; for example, oral and rectal thermometers are the most accurate, and axillary (armpit), ear, and forehead thermometers are less accurate. Any fever may be worrisome if it is prolonged and does not respond to fever-reducing medications and if behavioral signals, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or other concerning changes, accompany it.

Besides fever, other symptoms that call for medical intervention are if your child has difficulty breathing, persistent vomiting or diarrhea, severe dehydration, or uncontrolled bleeding. Timely medical attention is essential for accurately diagnosing the issue and providing appropriate treatment to alleviate your child’s discomfort. 


Worsening or Prolonged Conditions

If your child’s condition shows no improvement or worsens after a reasonable period of home care, it is wise to consult a healthcare professional. Certain ailments, such as ear infections, strep throat, or skin infections, may require prescribed medications like antibiotics to combat the infection properly. Delaying medical intervention in such cases may lead to complications. Trusting your instincts when you feel something isn’t right and seeking professional advice can help identify the most effective treatment plan, promoting a speedy recovery for your child.


Injury or Accident

Children are naturally curious and prone to accidents. In the event of a significant injury, assessing the severity and location is essential. Seek immediate medical attention for head injuries, deep cuts requiring stitches, broken bones, or injuries involving the eyes. Concussions, loss of consciousness, or severe pain that limits movement are also red flags. Attempting to manage these injuries at home can put your child at risk of further complications or long-term consequences. It’s better to err on the side of caution and have a healthcare professional examine and provide appropriate treatment for your child’s injury at an urgent care center or emergency room or by summoning EMT services.


Chronic or Recurring Conditions

If your child experiences recurring or chronic symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional. Conditions like asthma, allergies, eczema, or persistent digestive issues require thorough evaluation and may ultimately require ongoing management and medical supervision. When appropriate, a healthcare provider can help establish a treatment plan tailored to your child’s needs, ensuring effective symptom control and minimizing the impact on your child’s daily life. Regular check-ups and monitoring can also help detect underlying conditions that may exacerbate the symptoms and require specialized care.


Northwest Pediatrics: Taking Care of Your Family

While many minor illnesses and injuries can be managed at home, recognizing when professional healthcare services are necessary is crucial for ensuring the well-being of your children. By prioritizing your child’s health, knowing what to look for, and involving a healthcare professional when appropriate, you can provide the best care and support for their health and well-being.


At Northwest Pediatrics, our practice offers a full range of services to help you care for your family. With regular check-ups and consistent care, your NWSH pediatric provider will be your partner in providing for your children’s optimal growth and development. We also have local urgent care services available when medical advice can’t wait. To set up an appointment with Nurse Practitioners Jeanna Padilla or Marty Williams for your child, call Northwest Pediatrics today.

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