Posted On: February 11, 2010

A Checklist of Infection Symptoms for When to Take Your Child to the ER

Small children frequently get fevers and infections, and survive them just fine. But occasionally something more dangerous comes along. Here is a checklist of warning signs, put together by Consumers Report and the British Medical Journal. Go to the emergency room if your child has any of these:

  • A blue or purplish tinge to the child’s skin, often around the fingernails or the mouth
  • Rapid breathing
  • Poor blood flow to the hands and feet. Your child’s hands or feet might feel much colder than usual, or their fingernails might take longer than a couple of seconds to turn pink again after being squeezed
  • A rash caused by broken blood vessels under the skin. This kind of rash can be a symptom of meningitis. Some rashes will go away if you press them, but this kind won't.
  • You can check by rolling a glass over the rash
  • Drowsiness or loss of consciousness
  • A seizure
  • A fever measuring over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, trust your instincts. If you have a bad feeling that something might be seriously wrong, go ahead and take your child to the hospital. Those instincts are often correct, and if they're wrong, no harm is done by being cautious.

Here is the full report from Consumer Reports.

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