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Symptoms That Warrant Emergency Care In Kids

Written by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Updated Sep 02, 2022

    Symptoms That Warrant Emergency Care In Kids

    The pandemic has in no doubt changed our lives. The need to reduce exposure to the virus encouraged people to limit contact with others. Case in point: Instead of going to the clinic or hospital, a lot of people turned to telemedicine for consultation. But, is telemedicine good for kids, too? What are its limitations? What are the signs and symptoms of an emergency that must not be addressed via telemedicine? 

    Is Telemedicine Good For Kids?

    First, let’s talk about the advantages. Telemedicine is good for children because it provides the following:


    This works both ways for the child and parent. Either of them could easily talk to the doctor separately at one given time.


    Children (and their parents) can easily have access to primary health care, even if their area is remote. The consultation can likewise happen anytime even out of regular working hours/days. Telemedicine is also advantageous when chance (pandemic and lockdowns) does not readily permit a clinic or hospital visit.

    Convenience and Comfort 

    It lessens travel time (even the cost of travel for parents) and lessens waiting time in lines for doctors appointments. 

    Idle times for children may not be very easy for them to endure. It eliminates the hassle and worry for child care in the outside environment – the streets and other public places they would have to pass through along the way have their own hazards. It gives children that level of comfort at home during consultations and makes them feel at ease, lessens the fright, making it easier for doctors to assess their true status.

    Infection Control 

    Telemedicine prevents children from being further exposed to various contagious diseases in clinics and hospitals. Vice versa, it helps other children (and even adults) from getting the same contagious disease that they can spread once they are present in the clinics.

    Long-Term Management 

    This benefit is especially true for children with chronic illnesses and those with special needs. Regular and constant follow-up with their pediatricians are better maintained through virtual consultations.

    Signs and Symptoms of an Emergency

    Despite its benefits, telemedicine has its drawbacks. Parents must not make use of it if their child presents with the signs and symptoms of an emergency, which include:

    Nourishment is below what is required for weight and age. 

    For instance, dehydration happens very fast in children, as they have a smaller body surface area. Bring your child to the ER when:

    • The losses are evident – They have vomiting, diarrhea, etc. 
    • Their appetite or oral intake is markedly decreased – This can be associated with weakness or irritability from any illness

    Neurologic Symptoms

    Neurologic symptoms may directly involve the brain. Hence, they need emergency care. These include:

    • Decreased/Altered responsiveness
    • Seizures/Convulsion

    Respiratory Symptoms  

    There are certain specific respiratory signs/symptoms that signify an emergency. Bring your child to the ER if they have characteristic cough sound (whooping cough and wheezing, for example) and fast and/or difficulty breathing. 

    Other Signs and Symptoms of an Emergency

    If the child experiences the following, telemedicine is not a good way for consultation. 

    • Persistent fever – cause should be determined; can also be a reason of dehydration
    • Accidents/Trauma 

    Key Takeaways

    Telemedicine is good for kids, too, considering it’s convenient, private, and safer when it comes to exposure to contagious diseases. But, it’s not an option if your child presents with certain signs and symptoms of an emergency. Bring your child to the emergency room if they have:
    • Problems in nourishment: not eating, vomiting, etc. 
    • Neurologic symptoms, like not being responsive 
    • Respiratory symptoms, like difficulty breathing 
    • Persistent fever
    • Accident or trauma 
    Of course, if you feel concerned about your child’s health and development, don’t hesitate to bring them to the doctor, too. 

    Learn more about Parenting here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Written by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Updated Sep 02, 2022

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