If my child has a fever, shall I bring him to a hospital?

24 April, 2020

Paediatrics


Under the epidemic, all the kids are staying at home. Everyone wears a mask and washes hands frequently. But does this mean that children will not get sick or have a fever? Of course not.

 

If your child has a fever, both the doctor and family members may be worried that he/she may have been infected with COVID-19. But in fact, almost every young child diagnosed in Hong Kong has been in contact with a confirmed patient. Therefore, as long as we do ourselves well and maintain cleanliness, the chance of children getting the virus is very low.

 

On the contrary, it is worth to notice that children can also get a fever due to other diseases. Some are related to infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis; others are not related to infectious diseases like otitis media, urethritis, Kawasaki disease, and lymphitis. Children under one year old often put things in their mouths which makes them easier to be exposed to different viruses.

 

Like non-communicable epidemics, most of these fever causing diseases heal themselves. However, some diseases such as urethritis and Kawasaki disease require appropriate medication. Avoid seeking medical advice for a sick child is unwise as this will lead to delayed treatment. I recently had a patient whose parents had waited for more than a week for his fever before taking him to the hospital. It was diagnosed to be urethritis, the fever subsided right after prescription of antibiotic. Fortunately, there were no complications or danger to life caused by the delay.

 

According to international literature, COVID-19 rarely causes serious problems in young children. Therefore, if the child is sick, it is recommended that parents should bring him/her to the doctor as soon as possible. Some diseases like Kawasaki disease, there may not be the flexibility to await. If the diagnosis or treatment is too late, it may lead to serious problems which can be life threatening.