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When to go to the Emergency Room with a sick child

No time is good for your child to get sick. But with public holidays and holidays in the middle, everything gets more complicated and doubts arise about whether to go to the Emergency medical services, especially when the fever rises above 38. For this reason, we wanted to take advantage of this entry on the Health blog of the health group Ribera to ask our specialists in Pediatrics to give us some general guidelines and thus help us know when to go to the Emergency Department with the baby or child. For several weeks now, respiratory viruses, especially influenza and syncytial viruses, which can cause bronchiolitis especially in the case of the smallest, have been wreaking havoc among the children.

José Ramón García López, head of the Pediatric Service at the Ribera Juan Cardona hospital (Ferrol) explains that parents or guardians must go to the corresponding doctor or service, such as the Emergency Department, “when the child presents high fever of more than 24 hours of development, severe cough, fatigue, vomiting of repetition and/or general discomfort”.

Dr. Josep Mut, pediatrician at the Dénia Hospital, gives us similar guidelines. He assures that it is important for the minor to be seen by a specialist “if he presents persistent feveror if it’s a child we see a lot turned off or what he is not able to feed himself as usual because he is tired”. He says that right now, brochiolitis is the most common respiratory virus in children under 2 years old. For this reason, Dr. Mut insists on the importance of closely monitor the progress of children under 6 months and even a year, which start with a catarrhal picture “and after a few days they develop a picture of wheezing, difficulty breathing, seizures and fever”. These are the symptoms that should alert parents to take the child to a specialist immediately.

Doctor García López recalls that “minor symptoms such as mucus, intermittent cough, fever, that is, low fever, with a good general condition and appetite should be treated at home, with good hydration, anti-thermic drugs and relative rest”. Dr. Gonzalo Ros, head of Pediatrics at the Vinalopó University Hospital, shares the same opinion. “In general, respiratory and digestive viruses are self-limiting and heal on their own within a week,” he explains. Even so, he adds, “in case of doubt or if the child has difficulty breathing or feeding, parents should go to their pediatrician or the Emergency Room for an assessment.” If we follow these tips, we all contribute to not being saturated with services and consultations that may be needed by patients with worse symptoms. All this, as long as we have the peace of mind and security that the child does not need urgent medical attention. When in doubt, I’d better see a specialist.

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