You may have read this blog post in which Giles Manley urges parents and expectant women: Call a doctor if you feel like you should, even and especially over the holidays! This advice rings equally true for the families of children with special needs. Many people are afraid it might be impolite to interrupt a doctor’s “time off,” but in reality, doctors attend medical school specifically to be of service when medical issues arise. When your child needs a doctor, it’s serious and important – it makes no difference whether it’s Christmas Day or Tuesday.
Please do not hesitate to call a doctor if you notice something unusual or worrisome about your child’s health this holiday season. If one doctor is uncooperative, hang up and call another until you receive the medical attention you need. Is your child’s doctor going out of town for the holidays? Acquire his or her cell phone number, as well as the contact information of the doctor who will be filling in for him or her.
When to Call a Doctor for a Child with CP
Call 911 if your child has trouble breathing or chokes while eating and you are unable to dislodge the food.
Call a doctor immediately if your child:
- Has a seizure.
- Has unusual or worsened gastrointestinal issues.
- Complains of serious pain of any kind.
- Has constipation that is not relieved by home treatment.
- Has a skin irritation that isn’t improving, starts to bleed or leak fluid, or causes pain.
- Has feeding problems that aren’t relieved by home treatment (coughing or choking during feeding; chewing difficulty accompanied by weight loss or complaints of hunger).
- Has frequent accidents that threaten his or her safety.
- Has bladder control problems, bleeding gums, or increased joint stiffness, as these can be signs of complications.
Loving parents and caretakers are the first line of defense for children. If you feel or observe that something is wrong with your child’s health, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and seek medical attention! The continued health and safety of your child is far more important than a doctor’s onetime holiday vacation.
Who To See
Health professionals qualified to diagnose and treat people with CP include: pediatricians; family medicine doctors; nurse practitioners; physician assistants; internists; neurologists; neurological surgeons; physiatrists; physical medicine and rehabilitative physicians; and other doctors specializing in therapeutic and long-term treatment issues.
With any luck, your family won’t need a doctor over this holiday season – but in the event that you do, know that you should never hesitate to seek medical help! We wish you and your families a wonderful, merry season full of cheerful memories and an excellent start to 2014. Happy holidays!
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