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The Emergency Room’s advice on respiratory diseases

Many people call Stavanger Emergency Room when their children get a respiratory infection. It would be better to call your GP if you are worried. The most important thing is to give your child care and enough to drink, according to Tom Ole Dalsrud, an Emergency Room doctor.

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Tom Ole Dalsrud

Tom Ole Dalsrud

The A & E/Emergency Room is a limited resource that only makes assessments of emergency cases that cannot wait until the GP’s surgery opens the following day. The GP knows the child, the family and the case history best. That is why the best thing is to contact your GP.

- The A & E/Emergency Room must prioritize serious emergency cases. Use your GP during the daytime on weekdays as much as you can. It is up to the parents to decide whether the child’s general condition is such that they can wait until the following day to contact their GP, says Mr Dalsrud.

When should parents contact a doctor?

- When they are worried about the child’s general condition or that the child is seriously ill.

When should the A & E/Emergency Room be contacted?

- When the child has an acute respiratory disease in the afternoon, evening or at night.

It is important to call the A & E/Emergency Room switchboard on tel. 116 117 first and not simply turn up at the A & E/Emergency Room. This is important for two reasons:

- The A & E/Emergency Room can provide clarifying information and advice so that it may not be necessary to see a doctor. You as a parent will get information as to where you should go to avoid infecting other patients.

Which diseases are going around at the moment?

- Many different viruses that cause respiratory infections. The infection protection measures last winter led to few ordinary respiratory diseases, which has had an impact on immunity in the population. This means that particularly children and the elderly are more receptive to various respiratory infections.

How do these diseases play out?

- Give the child care and enough to drink. If a child gets a respiratory infection the most important thing for the child is to drink. Children who have a fever may be reluctant to drink. Fever-reducing medicines may help get the child to drink more, and more often. Children who are ill must be kept at home away from kindergarten and school until they are on the mend and have tested negative to Covid-19.

What should you do?

  • Give the child plenty to drink (this lowers the temperature, alleviates cough and may act as an expectorant (salt water and possibly an expectorant (a phlegm-reducing agent)).
  • Let the child wear light clothing when they have a fever. That way they will get rid of superfluous heat. Letting the child have a shower with its parents and then cooling it down by not drying it is an effective way of lowering the temperature.
  • Give the child a nasal spray if it has a runny nose (salt water, possibly an expectorant, which will reduce the phlegm).
  • Keep the child at home from kindergarten/school and stay at home until the child is on the mend and has tested negative to Covid-19.
  • Fever-reducing medicine like Paracert/Ibux may be used if the child is in pain or is not drinking.Fever-reducing agents do not make the child get better sooner.
  • In the event of coughing/respiratory problems: Try to let the child lie with the upper part of its body raised up at night.
  • In the event of breathing problems: Act calmly and comfort the child. In the event of a false croup/asthma: let the child sleep in a cool bedroom. It may be a good thing to take the child outside into cold, fresh air if an attack comes on.

In the event of HIGH FEVER (more than 40 degrees Centigrade) :

-Wake the child up a few times during the night:

- Can you manage to wake your child up so that the contact between you is good?

- Be particularly aware of a rash in the shape of extravasation/bruising, small mauve spots that do not go away when you press the side of a kitchen glass against the skin.

- This kind of rash, possibly together with listlessness, vomit and a stiff neck may be signs of serious illness.

Contact a doctor immediately.

Get in touch with a doctor if your child:

  • Is three months old or younger and has a fever or a cough
  • Has a reduced general condition, seems lethargic and doesn’t have the strength to eat or drink
  • Has febrile convulsions
  • Is so troubled that it needs an antipyretic/fever-reducing agent (e.g. Paracet/Ibux) for more than 3-4 days
  • Is finding it hard to get air and/or is breathing fast
  • If the child’s condition deteriorates or does not get better as expected
  • Coughs all the time and there is no improvement for more than 4 weeks
  • Coughs frequently at night and/or has a cough triggered by exertion
  • See a doctor if you are worried for other reasons that the child has a serious disease.