A sick child is every parent’s worst nightmare. They are too young to be able to articulate how they feel, so it is really difficult to know whether you should be worried enough to call the doctor. If a child gets sick during the day, you can make a doctor’s appointment and have them checked over, but at night or over the weekend, there is not the same level of care unless you contact an online locum doctor working at a private healthcare clinic. So what should you do if your child is poorly out of normal working hours?
Check the Child’s Symptoms
Some symptoms are more serious than others, but the age of the child is also important. For example, if an older child has an upper respiratory infection, rest and some over the counter medication will suffice, but if a baby has a bad cold he won’t be able to feed properly and is likely to become dehydrated. In this instance, medical attention may necessary.
Look closely at your child and assess their symptoms. If they seem more drowsy than usual, or have a rash and fever, call the doctor. The same applies if they have banged their head, lost consciousness at any point, or have swallowed something dangerous. All these things are emergency situations, so don’t hang around – seek help immediately.
Listen to Your Parental Instincts
Most parents have a sixth sense about their kids. You know your child and are therefore more likely to feel it in your bones when something is not right. If you sense that your child is not himself, don’t dismiss your fears. Doctors and emergency rooms are used to dealing with anxious parents. They would rather see your child and send you away with a bit of reassurance than have to deal with an emergency case a few hours later.
Use an After Hours Service
Local out of hours doctors are there to pick up cases on the weekend or late at night. Find out the number in your area and give them a call. They will be able to offer advice and tell you if your child should be seen in person.
Visit the Emergency Room
If in doubt, take your child to the nearest emergency room. When dealing with a sick child it is always better to be safe than sorry, so instead of wondering what to do, take him in to be examined. If it isn’t serious, the hospital will send you home again; if it is, they will keep the child in for further treatment.
Try Not to Worry
Becoming a parent means signing up to a lifetime of anxiety. Unfortunately it goes with the territory. If your child is not well try not to panic. In most cases their symptoms will not be a sign of something serious and they should get better within a day or so. Just give them lots of extra cuddles, snuggle up on the sofa with a favourite DVD and be prepared to do very little until they feel well again.