Parents of critically ill children do not take them to hospital because of fears about the coronavirus, according to a senior doctor.
Dr. Sanjay Patel, pediatric infectious disease consultant at Southampton Children’s Hospital, said fewer children were brought to the ER with conditions such as appendicitis, dehydration and sepsis – but those who are brought in are more seriously ill .
He said some parents were not looking for help because they feared their child might contract COVID-19 in the hospital, while others assume that all illnesses are caused by coronavirus.
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Dr. Patel said, “These are extremely difficult and worrying times for families and I cannot stress how important it is to follow government advice on social distance in order to slow the speed of COVID-19.
“However, I am really concerned that there is a very real risk that some children with diseases such as appendicitis, dehydration or even sepsis will not be brought to health care professionals as quickly as they can. would normally be.
“We see fewer children than we expected at this time of year, especially through our emergency department, and those we see who do not have COVID-19 are more seriously ill.
“We have seen evidence of this in Hampshire as well as across the country. “
Dr. Patel has contributed to the development of national child health guidelines that will allow parents to assess when they should see a doctor.
A system of red, amber and green signal lights tells them when they should see an emergency doctor.
According to the guidelines, produced in collaboration with the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, parents should bring their child to A&E or call 999 if they have any of the following symptoms:
• Becomes pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to the touch
• Has breathing pauses (apnea), has an irregular breathing pattern or starts to growl
• Severe breathing difficulty, restlessness or lack of response
• Goes blue around the lips
• Has a crisis / crisis
• Becomes extremely distressed (inconsolable crying despite distraction), confused, very lethargic (difficult to wake up) or does not respond
• Develops a rash that does not go away with pressure (the “glass test”)
• Has testicular pain, especially in adolescents
Parents should contact their GP or call NHS 111 if their child has any of the following symptoms:
• has difficulty breathing, including sucking the muscles under their lower ribs, around their neck or between their ribs (recession) or swinging their head
• Seems dehydrated (dry mouth, sunken eyes, no tears, drowsiness or less urine than usual)
• becomes drowsy (too drowsy) or irritable (unable to calm them down with toys, television, food or pick up) – especially if they remain drowsy or irritable despite the falling fever
• Has extreme tremors or complains of muscle pain
• Babies under three months of age with a temperature above 38 ° C (100.4 ° F)
• Infants three to six months of age with a temperature above 39 ° C (102.2 ° F)
• For all infants and children with fever above 38 ° C for more than five days
• gets worse or you are worried
• Persistent vomiting and / or persistent severe abdominal pain
• Has blood in their poo or pee
• Any limb injury resulting in reduced movement, persistent pain, or head injury causing persistent crying or drowsiness
Boards recognize that access to a health care professional may be delayed, so if symptoms persist for four hours or more and parents were unable to speak to a GP or 111, they should take their child to the nearest A&E.
Dr. Patel added, “We know the message on COVID-19 is so powerful and parents put most of the disease into it.
“It is really important that parents recognize that COVID-19 does not cause serious infection or illness in most children.”
He added: “If your child is not feeling well, don’t assume he has COVID-19, please check out the resources we have developed and if your child has any of the red or amber characteristics, ask for help urgently. “