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7 Critical Symptoms in Children You Can’t Ignore

As a parent, it’s often hard to know what health concerns are normal, childhood ailments and what symptoms are critical, emergency signals. When this happens, where can you go for reliable information to help your child?

“Parents have the difficult job of trying to make judgment calls with their kids’ health and wellbeing,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Alan Dennington. “We love to help parents by taking the guesswork out of their day through a careful evaluation of their children at one of our 2 Dallas locations. It’s our recommendation that they bring their kids in when in doubt and let us check them out, just to be safe.”

If you have ever struggled with wondering when to take your child to the doctor, to the ER, or just to bed, we’ve compiled a list of 10 symptoms in children that need emergency care.

Top 7 Critical Symptoms in Kids:

  1. Stomach pain – if your child is having increasingly strong stomach pain, or if it is pain that lasts a short time, then seems to be better, then comes back again cyclically, it could be several serious conditions and requires a trip to the emergency room.

            Stomach pain combined with any of the following needs a visit to the ER:

  • Blood in the stool or stools that look like currant jelly
  • Fever
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  1. Fever – if your child has been suffering from a fever that has lasted for over 3 days or is higher than 103°F, or 101°in babies 3-6 months, or 100.4° in infants, it is time to visit a physician. An infant with a fever should go to the ER for immediate care.

            Fever combined with any of the following needs a visit to the ER:

  • Fever that doesn’t respond to a fever reducer, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Headache, stiff neck, difficult to keep eyes open
  • Rash that looks like a bruise
  • Rash that looks like pinpricks under the skin
  • Weight loss, no appetite, lethargy
  1. Dehydration – if your child is extremely thirsty, has dry skin, has skin that stands up when you pinch it, or has a depressed fontanel (in babies), he or she could be suffering from dehydration, or a disease such as diabetes, or an infection. A dehydrated baby needs immediate emergency care.

           Dehydration combined with any of the following needs a visit to the ER:

  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Difficulty urinating
  1. Headache – When a headache is so debilitating, it interferes with life and your child can’t play, eat, or watch TV, or when it lasts for hours and doesn’t respond to pain relievers, it’s time to go to the emergency room to be checked out.

            Headaches combined with any of the following needs a visit to the ER:

  • Nausea, diarrhea
  • Fever lasting longer than 3 days
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty walking
  • Stiff neck
  • Rash
  • Headache caused by a fall and accompanied by vomiting
  1. Skin rash – If your child has a widespread rash, it may not be serious but it does need to be checked out by a physician. A round rash with a white center or a pinpoint rash under the skin could be a serious condition and needs a trip to the emergency room for evaluation. An ER has the labs available 24/7 to run diagnostics on a changing or suspicious mole, or on blood work needed to check for a serious condition.

            Skin rash combined with any of the following needs a visit to the ER:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  1. Breathing difficulty – If your child shows any signs of struggling to breathe such as hard pulling of the chest, wheezing, panting, grunting or whistling sound, take him or her to the nearest emergency room immediately.

            Breathing difficulty combined with any of the following needs a visit to the ER:

  • Blue lips or discoloration around the mouth
  • Swollen face or tongue
  • Severe hives
  1. Bleeding – When a cut is deep and the bleeding is difficult to control, your child may need stitches to close it. A puncture wound or bite – animal or human – needs a visit to the emergency room.

Where can I get fast help for my child’s critical symptom?

Advance ER has board-certified physicians and in-house imaging equipment and labs available 24/7 for your child’s healthcare concerns. “Bring your son or daughter right in if you see any of these concerning symptoms, or even if you just feel like something’s just not right and we’ll take good care of the child,” said Dr. Dennington.