6 signs of a medical emergency parents should never ignore

(Creative Commons)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – When our kids get sick or hurt it can be tough to decide if it’s a true emergency.

Many minor injuries can be treated at home and some illnesses can be taken care of in your pediatrician’s office, but when should you rush your child to the emergency room? Dr. Katy Stordahl, an emergency room physician at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says trust your instincts.

“You know your child best. If you aren’t comfortable with your child’s appearance or feel an injury or illness is serious come to the ER. That’s what we’re here for,” said Dr. Stordahl.

Dr. Stordahl says some situations are so serious you need the help of trained medical personnel on the way to the hospital, so you should call 911 for an ambulance. These type of situations might include a head or neck injury after a car crash or a child who is non-responsive, not breathing or turning blue.

There are six signs/symptoms you should never ignore. Those include

  1. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath – This could be caused by RSV, pneumonia, severe allergic reaction, foreign body aspiration
  2. Change in mental status, such as suddenly becoming unusually sleepy or difficult to wake, disoriented, or confused – This could be indicative of a concussion, stroke or shock
  3. Cut which is very deep or will not stop bleeding – Large or deep wounds can result in nerve or tendon damage
  4. Stiff neck with fever – This is a common symptom of meningitis
  5. Ingests a poisonous substance or too much medication
  6. Head trauma with any loss of consciousness – This may be a sign of a broken skull bone, torn blood vessels, concussion or serious brain injury


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