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  • Dr David Goh

The ABCD of Childhood Illness

The cold and flu season is now upon us.

So, one question, that might be on parents mind is “When should my child be seen at the hospital?” One useful pnemonic which could indicate that your child’s condition could be cause for concern is “ABCD”.

That is:-

Alert - If the child looks drowsy, then this could be an indication of a more serious illness.

Breathing – Signs of shortness of breath, including rapid breathing rate, “tracheal tug” where the concave front part of the neck moves in and out, and if the ribs are also moving in and out rapidly.

Colour – If the child looks blue or pale, then this could be cause for concern.

Dehydration – If the child has had poor oral fluid intake in the past 24 hours, then I would recommend taking your child to be assessed by a doctor. Signs of dehydration include not passing much urine, dry lips and dry skin as well as drowsiness.

Any baby less than 3 months old with persistent fever greater than 38.5C should also be seen at the hospital, as the cause of concern is not so clear in this age group.

If your child is unwell, you should always consult your local GP for specific advice or Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital.

Please note: This medical comment should not be relied upon in the manner in which information provided in a personal medical consultation can be relied upon.

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