Hospitals are overwhelmed and children’s pain and fever medication is in low supply. It’s no wonder parents and caregivers are overwhelmed and deciding whether or not to go to the ER is stressful. We’ve broken it down for you.
Remember, fever is one of our body’s tools to fight infection, as it makes our body hostile to the microbes infecting us (3,7,8). If not uncomfortable, a fever does not always need to be alleviated (1,8). The fever itself is not dangerous to your child (3). How much of a fever your child has is not a measure of how sick they are or how serious the infection is. Your child’s behaviour is a much better indicator (1).
There are a few things you can do at home to help reduce your child’s discomfort is case of a fever (2,3,8,9):
- Have them drink a lot of fluids.
- Dress them with lightweight clothing.
- If your child is 6 months old or older you can give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Always read the label carefully for dosing.
- Nasal irrigation with saline water or nasal suction with a nasal aspirator can relieve nasal discharge and congestion.
There are also a few things you should avoid doing (1,3,8,9):
- Never give aspirin to children or teenagers.
- Avoid cold baths or removing all your childs clothes as it could make them shiver which will increase their body temperature.
Disclaimer: this decision tree does not cover all illnesses that may require a visit to the emergency (i.e. stomach flu, broken bones etc.). If you have any health concerns for your child, don’t hesitate to call your provincial or territorial health line to talk with a healthcare professional (2,5). You can find your specific health line number in our reference list.
We hope this decision tree helps alleviate some of your stress.
Don’t forget to save it for yourself and share it with all the parents in your life!
A big thank you to Dr. Shazma Mithani (@drshazmamithani) for reviewing this post. Follow her for great resources on kid and family health.