Care for illness and injury: A quick guide for parents

Having a kid of any age comes with its fair share of bumps and bruises. Occasionally, an injury will warrant a visit to the Emergency Department (ED), while others may just need a call to your pediatrician or some TLC at home.

Here are some tips for when to call your pediatrician versus when you should go directly to the ED:

Call your pediatrician for the following:

  • Suspected sprain
  • Minor head injuries
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Cough, fever, colds and flu
  • Asthma

Visit a Prisma Health Emergency Department for anything serious:

  • Broken bone with deformity
  • Head injury with loss of consciousness
  • Severe burns
  • Deep cuts
  • Severe, unexplained pain
  • Ingestion of poisons
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

Some minor illnesses and injuries can be treated at home:

  • Fever: Most pediatricians consider a fever to be a temperature of 100.5°F or higher. However, the way the child looks and acts is more important than the temperature. To make the child more comfortable, give cool liquids to drink, keep him or her calm, and give fever medications, as needed.
  • Bleeding: Apply pressure with gauze for one to two minutes. If bleeding continues, add more gauze and apply pressure for another five minutes.
  • Stinging Insects: Remove the stinger with a scraping motion using a firm item (such as the edge of a credit card), then apply a cold compress for pain. Use a paste of baking soda to decrease itching and pain.
  • Ticks: Use tweezers or your fingers to grasp as close as possible to the head of the tick and briskly pull it away.
  • Nosebleeds: Keep the child in a sitting position with the head tilted slightly forward. Apply firm, steady pressure to both nostrils by squeezing them between your thumb and index finger, for five to 10 minutes.
  • Splinters: Remove small splinters with tweezers or by stroking out with the edge of a credit card, then wash until clean.

Lorraine A. Bruce, MD, is a pediatrician with Clemson-Seneca Pediatrics. Learn more about Clemson-Seneca Pediatrics or find another Prisma Health pediatrician near your work or home here. You also can call 1-844-447-3627 for help connecting with a pediatrician.

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