Mother’s Instinct On Sick Children Is Right, Doctors Told
If you’re a mother there is good news. Doctors are being told to take you seriously when it comes to your child’s health. Does this imply they didn’t take you seriously before? We hope this study published in The Lancet medical journal is followed by a study that proves a parent knows what is best for their child.
Doctors are being told to treat parents’ fears and concerns that something might be wrong seriously because they are closest to their child.
“As a GP, it’s important to always be alert to parents who are especially concerned about their child,” said Dr Matthew Thompson, one of the researchers.
“We should usually trust parents’ instincts. After all, they will have nursed their child through many minor illnesses before and often can tell when something is different.” The advice, published in The Lancet medical journal, says doctors should also trust their own gut feeling when trying to identify between a child with a serious infection and those with just a cold or cough.
Rapid breathing, poor blood circulation at the skin, and rashes of small purple/red spots are all “red flags” that indicate a child has more than a minor cough or cold, say the researchers.
Doctors were also urged to watch out for a temperature of more than 104F (40C) among children brought into surgeries and assessment units.
Serious infections such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis are rare in developed countries and difficult to diagnose in children, said the scientists.
Co-author Dr Matthew Thompson, from Oxford University, said: “For doctors, it’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. Serious infections are rare and getting increasingly rarer thanks to vaccinations.
“Identifying that one child out of all those many with minor ailments is difficult. It is complicated further as the child may be seen at any early stage of infection before it is possible to recognise its severity.”
The researchers now want to develop guidelines for GPs so that children with infections are referred to hospitals quickly and only when necessary.
Dr Ann Van den Bruel, another member of the Oxford team, said: “Doctors should routinely check for these warning signs in every sick child they see. For example, not all GPs will check a child’s temperature, whereas we would now suggest this is done on all occasions.”
She added: “Parents shouldn’t try to assess these red flags themselves, it would only add to any uncertainty or anxiety they may already be feeling. However, parents can take heart that we found they are very good at picking up signs that their child is unwell.”
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