Most parents will bandage a bazillion boo boos and ease a host of heartaches, perhaps even before noon. It’s part of the job. In doing so, we may become so accustomed to pulling out the old first-aid kit that we almost forget there are some things a kiss on the forehead and a colorful bandage cannot fix. Some symptoms are subtle signs of a more severe injury or illness—one that could become dangerous or even fatal without treatment, you should become familiar with these symptoms for your children’s health. The following are six symptoms you should never ignore. Keep in mind, symptoms may vary from child to child, and the best guideline is to seek medical attention whenever you suspect an emergency.
A high fever is generally sign of infection or illness, and not always a cause for alarm. But if your child’s fever does not budge after treatments such as a lukewarm bath and over-the-counter medication, it’s time to call the doctor. On the other hand, if your child is eating and drinking as usual, is responsive, alert, and is as passionate about playtime as ever, he’s likely okay.
Although parents often assume headaches are an adult ailment, they sometimes occur in young children. Typically, a headache is triggered by lack of sleep, skipping meals, or excessive play, particularly in the sun. It’s not likely that a brain tumor is causing your child’s headache, although an ear infection, sinus infection or flu might. If your child complains of headaches often, and if they become progressively worse and are accompanied by changes in vision, tingling sensations, fever or weakness, it’s best to see a doctor.
Food allergies afflict approximately 4 to 8 percent of children in the United States, according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration. The most common offending foods include peanuts, shellfish, wheat, milk, and eggs. Allergic reactions to these foods often emerge around an hour after mealtime, and may bring a bevy of symptoms, including hives or skin rashes, swelling in the lips and face, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, a child might experience vomiting, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, or loss of consciousness. These are signs of anaphylaxis, a rapidly worsening and potentially fatal reaction. Call 911 or head to the emergency room immediately.
Whether it’s diarrhea or vomiting, your child’s losing fluids and is at risk for dehydration. Occasional bouts of either are normal. Offer your child an electrolyte beverage to restore fluid and salt levels, but seek help if he stops urinating or his lips, mouth and tongue become dry or cracked.
A bump on the head is a common playground malady, typically requiring little more than a soothing stroke and a sweet treat for good measure. If, however, your child becomes lethargic, unusually irritable or unsteady preceding a head injury, consult a doctor to rule out a concussion.
While abdominal pain could be the sign of a simple tummy ache, or the effects of a rough game of dodge ball, it might also indicate a potentially fatal inflammation of the appendix, or appendicitis. If abdominal pain begins around the naval and moves downward and to the right, worsening with movement, call your doctor promptly.