Preparing for Everyday Illnesses

As proactive and protective as you are as a parent, it’s hard to predict illnesses and accidents your child may experience. However, there are things you can do to better equip yourself as the gatekeeper of your child's health.

Review these helpful tips from The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis in Tulsa. Need a new doctor for your child? Find a pediatrician near you or call 918-502-6000 and we’ll help you find the right partner to keep your little one safe, happy and healthy.

Common Medicines to Keep on Hand

Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to use the following medicines and what amount to give your child:

  • Analgesics (for pain) and Antipyretics (for fever): Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, Panadol, generic); Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, generic)
  • Decongestant: Pseudophedrine (Sudafed, generic)
  • Antihistamine: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, generic)
  • Emetic (to cause vomiting): Syrup of Ipecac (Give this ONLY upon advice of your child's doctor, nurse or the Poison Control Center. Do not decide to give this medicine to your child by yourself.)
  • Oral rehydration solution: Pedialyte, Infalyte, Kaolectrolyte
  • Lotions and ointments: Calamine lotion; Hydrocortisone cream 1 %; antibiotic ointment (Neosporin, Bacitracin); protective ointment (A&D, Desitin, petroleum jelly)

First-Aid Supplies to Keep on Hand

  • Thermometer
  • Plastic BAND-AIDs (assorted sizes and ACE bandages)
  • Gauze wrap (2- and 3-inch sizes), pads and tape
  • Scissors
  • Calibrated measuring spoon or syringe

What to Do Before you Call the Doctor

In many instances, you may be able to take care of your child's problem without having to call your pediatrician. But, if you feel professional help is necessary, there are things you can do to help your doctor decide how to best care for your child.

Have a pencil and paper next to your telephone for writing instructions. Write a short description of the problem, including specific information and why you are calling. Take your child's temperature before making the call. This will save time. Be ready to answer the following questions:

  • Is the problem getting worse?
  • When did the symptom(s) start?
  • If there is pain, where is the pain?
  • What is your child's temperature?
  • Is your child taking any medications?
  • How is your child's skin color? Pale? Flushed? Blue?
  • What has your child had to eat and/or drink in the last 24 hours?
  • What is the name of your insurance plan?
  • What is your child's weight?
  • How is your child playing?

If your child is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or your local emergency service. Learn about our pediatric emergency and urgent care services.

Life-threatening emergencies for children may include:

  • Slurred speech (if your child normally speaks)
  • Severe difficulty breathing or breathing that stops for more than 15 seconds
  • Serious injury with broken bones or injury to the neck
  • Second- or third-degree burns over 20 percent of the body
  • Major bleeding that will not stop
  • Signs of shock including extreme weakness, limpness, not moving, not responding, gray or blue colored skin
  • Unconsciousness for more than one minute
  • Fever and rash with purple spots
  • Unable to swallow
  • Deep puncture wound to head, neck, chest or abdomen
  • Seizure lasting more than five minutes or a seizure after a head injury
  • Suicidal thoughts with a plan and means to cause harm
  • Sudden onset of severe headache