HomeHealth AwarenessIt Can Be Scary When Your Child Is Sick

It Can Be Scary When Your Child Is Sick

It’s 3am and the pattering of racing little feet invades my foggy dreams….again.  Ugggghh!!  This is his fourth mad dash to the bathroom tonight.  Did he make it to the toilet on time?…I stumble out of bed to see how my poor little five-year-old is doing.  Diarrhea is terrible, especially for kids.  After a quick clean-up and comfort session, we snuggle on the couch to spend a bit of “quality time” with fluids before heading back to bed.  And hope this is the last sprint for the night…

As parents, we’ve all experienced these late-night wake-up calls when our children are sick or injured.  Our hearts break as we see how uncomfortable they can be.  I’ve been there, with my own three kids.  And as a pediatrician in the Emergency Department (ED) at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, I’ve heard over and over again the concern in the voices of parents who can’t believe how much their child has vomited, or how bad the barky cough is, or how high the fever is. And, having experience it with my own children and those I’ve cared for in the ED, I understand that parents have a lot questions (“Is my child dehydrated”, “Can a fever hurt my child”, “Is this rash dangerous” or “Does my child have a concussion”?).  So where can we turn for answers?

Doctors and nurses at Alberta Children’s Hospital and Stollery Children’s Hospital have worked together to develop a new resource for families and caregivers: the HEAL (Health Education and Learning) website (www.ahs.ca/heal).   Our goal is to provide families across Alberta with a reliable, trusted source of information that will empower them to manage common minor acute illness at home.  It also provides guidance on when to seek additional medical attention.

For each of the top 10 minor acute illnesses that are seen in Alberta’s pediatric ED, the HEAL website gives information on “What Is It”, “Symptoms”, “Treatment”, “Key Points” and when to “Seek Immediate Medical Attention”.  The following topics are explored:

• Barky Cough
• Cough and Wheeze (Bronchiolitis)
• Common Cold
• Ear Pain
• Nosebleeds
• Head Injury
• Vomiting and Diarrhea
• Fever
• Febrile Seizures
• Rashes

Things to remember:
• Common acute minor illnesses and injuries are a normal part of growing up.
• Many of these minor illnesses and injuries are best treated at home.
• The new HEAL website (www.ahs.ca/heal) has reliable information provided by Alberta’s pediatric doctors and nurses; the same trusted information that is given in our pediatrics EDs.
• If you need further advise/help, contact Health Link (811), your family doctor or an urgent care centre.
• If your child has an emergency, go to the nearest ED or call 911