We all have our good and bad days. We call it a good day when all we did that day ran smoothly, and all our expectations are met. A bad day is, well, when nothing seems to work as planned. So how difficult would it be if children and infants are the ones having a bad day? Do you know what to do to ensure child safety after hours? Here are some tips on how to care for your child during his not-so-good days.
Child safety after hours: Against acute respiratory infections
As anyone would have thought, respiratory infections are the number one complaint home doctors get, especially during the winter season. The respiratory tract of little children is particularly susceptible to infection from viruses or bacteria, so chances of kids having cough and colds any time of the year are very high.
Respiratory infections can be categorised as upper or lower. Upper respiratory tract infections include diseases of the throat, tonsils, larynx (voice box) and the middle ear. Head colds, the flu, and whooping cough (pertussis) may be examples of diseases that fall into this category. Lower respiratory tract infections, on the other hand, occur in the chest – either the trachea (windpipe) or lungs. Examples of diseases under this classification are bronchitis, bronchiolitis, croup, and pneumonia. Viral infections, like influenza or flu, are prevalent infections that can affect any part of the respiratory system, even the lungs.
Children exhibit the same symptoms for any of these diseases – a runny nose, throat pain, cough, sneezing, fever, and for older kids, complaints of a headache. The home doctor will assess the symptoms present during your home visit, and he may prescribe antibiotics if he determines that it is a bacterial infection. Antibiotics cannot fight viruses. So for cases where the infection is viral, the only thing a home doctor can do is provide medications that alleviate symptoms, like medicines for fever, colds or cough syrup, flu medication, etc. he will also instruct you to let your child rest, increase fluid intake, and monitor any worsening symptoms. Any change in skin colour or noticeable difficulty breathing warrants an emergency consultation.
Child safety after hours: Against ear pain
Children are very prone to respiratory infections which may also affect their ears, causing otitis media or middle ear infection. As mentioned earlier, middle ear infections are part of the lower respiratory infections since a passage connects the ear to the nose, so mucous discharge from colds can seep in and infect or irritate the ears as well. This type of ear infection is predominantly common in babies and children under five years old.
This infection usually shows its symptoms at night time, with a child suffering severe earache and fever, and possible signs of an upper respiratory infection. For children who are still too young to talk, a tell-tale sign that their ears are aching is the way they guard or hold their ears when you want to carry them.
The home doctor can diagnose the problem and, in severe cases, provide the first doses of strong analgesia and antibiotics (if required). It is very important not to neglect the management of otitis media to avoid damage to the eardrum.
After your treatment, the home doctor will generally recommend a follow-up appointment with the patient’s family doctor to assess the progress of the infection and to provide further treatment if needed.
Child safety after hours: Against skin rashes or infection
Skin infections are very common for school-age children. Many of these conditions, like school sores (impetigo) or staph infections, can be treated by a patient’s family doctor. But when your GP is unavailable and the symptoms hinder your child to fall asleep, home doctors can take care of the skin management for you. Calls from parents of children who are having urticarial inflammations (or hives), usually caused by an allergic reaction. The irritation looks like mosquito bites, ranging from the size of a pinhead to that of a plate. However, even though they are often uncomfortably itchy, at times even painful, such rashes are not contagious. Home doctors can care for your symptoms by giving you antihistamines or apply soothing creams so as to alleviate itchiness, swelling, and pain.
Child safety after hours: Against gastrointestinal problems
Gastroenteritis is an illness that affects the digestive tract. It may be caused by a virus, bacteria, parasite, toxin, allergy, among others. Symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain, fever, lack of appetite, and tiredness or body pains. These can usually last for 1-2 days, although they can last longer. Home doctors called to rescue have the main goal for these children, and that is to avoid dehydration. Means to hydrate the little patients are very important, as well as ensuring that proper handwashing and handling of food are emphasised for the whole family.