Paediatric Emergencies

Children get sick. On average a child will get between two to eight infections per year – annually – between the ages of one and six years. A vast majority of these infections will be viral and most will not need a visit to a doctor; even fewer will require admission to hospital. Children, however, do get bacterial infections and generally these result in a more serious illness.

Red flags or symptoms

Rapid/fast breathing 

Fever esp. if persistently 

Poor feeding 

Weakness or severe lethargy 

Vomiting / Dehydration

Profuse diarrhea or bloody diarrhea

Rapid heart rate 

Some of the most important paediatric conditions that can cause paediatric emergencies include:
  • Meningitis
  • Prolonged seizures
  • Pneumonia
  • Acute asthma
  • Croup
  • Bronchiolitis (< 2yr)
  • Congenital heart problems
  • Severe gastroenteritis
  • Appendicitis
  • Severe kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
  • Diabetes
  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Poisoning (accidental ingestion)

Due to their smaller size, children have less “reserve” than adults, so it is vital that if your child has any of the listed symptoms or conditions, that you seek medical advice immediately.

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