General Medical (Health and Safety) Issues in Children
Remember you and your child doctor have same goal: to help your child to grow up healthy and happy.
Asking Question: Most new parents hesitate in asking questions that they think might be too simple or silly. But if there`s any kind of question on your mind, you are entitled to an answer. Most of the child specialists are happy to answer all your queries. It is best to pen down on piece of paper all your questions (or easier to note on your mobile phone) before you go for doctor visit.
Sometimes there might be difference of opinion or misunderstanding between you and doctor. If you are not satisfied with diagnosis, you can take second opinion. (Some of the doctors can see the tension in your face and they themselves offer second opinion or super specialist opinion). You can simply search on internet regarding the diagnosis and see for yourself.
Regular check up: If you are getting vaccination on time, than for first 2 years, you will be having regular visits to your Pediatrician (Child specialist). After that once a year you should visit, your doctor for routine examination and growth monitoring. These regular visits will ensure that your baby is growing well, gaining weight adequately, no nutritional deficiency, development is good. Growth charts should be made for every child with regular plotting of weight, height and head circumference (for 1st 3 years).
Telephonic conversations: For some illnesses consulting on phone can help (depending on policy of your child specialist) before you fix an appointment, so that treatment can be started on time.
- Fever: For small children less than 3 months, any documented fever above 100 F, should be shown to child specialist. As the child grows old; general activity of child will decide, the urgency to show to doctor. Any fever above 100F, Crocin (Paracetamol) should be given immediately (10 to 15 mg per kg body weight). At height of fever, any child might become dull, but if child is active, alert and playfull once the fever subsides, than it is more reassuring for us. But if fever persists for more than 3 to 5 days, you should consult doctor for opinion.
- Rapid breathing: With high fever, child can have fast breathing but if even after fever has subsided and still child is having rapid breathing: it’s a dangerous sign, u need to consult doctor immediately. Normal range of respiration (count the number of breaths in 60 seconds, with each in-out being one breath) is
- Less than 60 per minute till 2 months of age.
- Less than 50 per minute for 2months to 12 months of age.
- Less than 40 per minute for children more than 2 years
- Retractions: You can see the skin suck in (retract) over the collarbones and between and under the ribs. Chest indrawing of any form is severe, needs urgent attention of doctor.
- Nosiy breathing:
- It can be simply because of mucus in nose(nose block) or
- due to windpipe (stridor), which will be loudest when child is breathing in or
- Whistling (Wheezing) sound coming from deep inside lungs.
It is best to put the saline nasal drops and clear the nose. And if child is still having noisy breathing it is better to show to your Pediatrician.
- Pain: It is difficult to tell in small babies, as only thing that will be seen by you is crying (inconsolable cry). Whenever in doubt give pain killer (Syp Ibuprofen) and if pain or excessive cry persists then show to child specialist.
- Vomiting: Vomiting of any unusual type warrants immediate attention. That means if child is looking sick or different in any ways.
Usually all small kids might vomit feeds once in a while, or vomiting can be associated with loose motion which can be easily managed at home with medicines. But if vomiting persists even after oral medication, it is in best interest to show to pediatrician to prevent dehydration.
- Diarrhea: most of young children have loose motion, which are viral infection needing adequate fluid intake (and do not need antibiotics unless until blood is seen in stools). Most of the complications occur due to dehydration, so it is important to give frequent oral fluids eg. ORS, coconut water, homemade ORS, dal ka paani etc.
- Head Injury: Fall from bed is very common. Danger signs which need urgent medical attention are
- > If your baby is unconscious, drowsy or keep going back to sleep after fall
- > Has bleeding from ear, nose or throat
- > Having persistent vomiting
- Poison: If child has taken anything which you suspect could be poisonous than take your child to nearby hospital which has child specialist available.
- Rashes: Any viral fever can have rashes, small size, multiple, reddish in color. Or with changing season allergic rashes can be there. Show to your child doctor by routine visit. But any rash that could be from bleeding into the skin: either large purplish blotches or small red spots that don`t go away when you stretch the skin over them, should be looked at right away.
Not everything can be covered here, but golden rule is “Whenever in doubt show to your child doctor”. It is better to show rather than regret later regarding delay in diagnosis and treatment.
Again remember you and your child doctor have same goal: to help your child to grow up healthy and happy.
Stay healthy and keep smiling
“ Healthy kids, happy family”