Flu: When should I take my child to the ER?

September 24, 2018

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Let’s face it, flu season can be scary, making parents fear each sniffle, cough and warm forehead far more than normal. But, is it the flu or one of many other viruses that target our children during this time of year.

Whatever illness has invaded your home this season, when should you consider it an emergency and take your child to the ER? In addition to general symptoms like fever, cough, muscle aches, vomiting, chills and headaches, these below symptoms would warrant an emergency room visit.

  •  Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Not drinking enough fluids, not urinating for 12 hours or less than four wet diapers for infants, per 24 hours
  • Difficulty waking up, confusion or your child is not making sense
  • Extreme muscle aches or difficulty walking

“Parents often worry about the fever and hype of fever, “said Opher Nadler, MD, Medical Director Randall Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. “Yes, the flu does have high fever and chills, which can be brought down by using fever controlling medication, but a fever isn’t always a reason for an ER visit.”
In the case of a child’s illness, parents know their children best. There’s no wrong decision when it comes to getting medical attention, whether it’s at the ER, Urgent Care or a visit to the pediatrician. Parents follow your gut – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you do find yourself or others around you with flu symptoms, there are some things you can do to stay healthy or prevent your illness from spreading:

  • Wash your hands!
  • If you’re sick, don’t go back to school within 24 hours of having a fever/flu symptoms
  • Cover your cough
  • If you or someone you know is sick, don’t share food or liquids

Click here for information about the Randall Children’s Hospital Children’s Emergency Department.

The Flu: When should I take my child to the ER?

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