5 flu season guidelines: When to bring your child to the ER
This is the time of year in North Texas when flu season infects adults and children. Oftentimes parents are unsure if they should take children to the emergency room (ER) or their pediatrician.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if your child has the flu, they are contagious as early as one day before symptoms develop - and up to five to seven days after.
Keep these tips in mind when your child is sick or you’re considering a visit to the ER:
- When should I take my newborn to the ER?
If your infant has symptoms such as constipation, rash or is spitting up, it’s best to see your pediatrician. If an infant is not eating, is listless, has fever or difficulty breathing, has a color change—go to the ER immediately.
- When should I take my older infant or child to the ER?
Fever in older children is not an emergency. For children two-months-old or older, a fever by itself is not an indication to take a child to the ER. Fever is a common symptom during the winter season and usually associated the flu. If your child has a fever and responds to acetaminophen or ibuprofen, that’s an indication the child doesn’t need to go to the ER.
- Watch out for these emergency symptoms
Children of all ages should immediately go to the ER if they have: difficulty breathing, become unresponsive, suffer from excessive vomiting or appear dehydrated with decreased urination, have dry lips, or sunken eyes. Any one of these symptoms warrants a visit to the ER.
- Get your family vaccinated
Parents can help avoid a trip to the ER by ensuring everyone in their family six-months-old or older receives a flu shot.
- Keep healthy family members away from the ER
Parents can help reduce exposure to flu and other illnesses by limiting the number of family members who accompany a sick child to the ER. Healthy children and relatives should remain at home.
You can help your family stay healthy and prevent seasonal illness by getting a flu vaccination at any of our 18 Children’s Health Pediatric Group locations.