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Monday, September 28, 2009

What to do when your kids are sick

First of all any advice that I dispense here does not replace seeing a medical doctor. (And whenever taking over the counter medication, use as directed.) There are times when you just need to suck it up and admit that this is beyond your scope and go to see a doctor at a clinic or hospital. Having said that, as a pediatric nurse there have been countless times that I have seen kids come into the hospital that would have been ok staying at home. They say better safe than sorry, however in this case, safe can make you sorry when you see that medical bill.

When your child is throwing up...
  • Pepto-Bismal can do wonders. Give it a try, it won't hurt anything.
  • It is important to keep them hydrated. However, if you give them too much to drink at once, that can cause them to throw up, which will make them even more dehydrated. Start with an ounce, if half an hour later s/he has kept it down, give another. Do this for a couple hours before increasing the amount.
  • Don't give them anything too acidic (like orange juice) to drink and whatever you do, don't give them milk. Try pedialyte or half strength apple juice.
  • If they can't keep anything down when trying an ounce at a time, and it has been 12 hours since they have been able to eat/drink anything, call your doctor. S/he may give you further advice, or let you know it is time to come in an see him.
When your child has diarrhea...
  • Again try the Pepto-Bismal.
  • Keep them hydrated, but this time you don't have to be quite as stringent as above, unless they have both symptoms.
  • Give them yogurt. It has bacteria in it that can help replace the normal flora that they are losing with the diarrhea.
  • If they are crying, but have no tears, they are too dehydrated. Call your doctor.

When your child is running a fever...
  • If they are over a year old, try children's Motrin (Ibuprofen) & Tylenol (Acetaminophen). They do wonders for bringing down a fever, especially when you alternate them.
  • If they are under a year, just give Tylenol.
  • Make sure that they are getting enough to drink.
  • Check the environment. Where's the thermostat? How many layers are they wearing?
  • If their fever is still 100.4 F or higher, call your doctor.
What is most important is to listen to your kids and look at the overall picture. Are they behaving different than what is normal for them? Are they complaining of pain in an odd place? If things aren't right, don't ignore them. Watch them and if they don't get any better, take them to see a doctor.

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