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Caring for a sick child over the holidays

Looking after a sick kid can be stressful anytime, but especially over the holidays. BC Children’s Hospital has tips for how to determine the most appropriate medical care for your child this season.
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When to seek non-urgent care

The holidays are a busy time for emergency departments. Sometimes, your child’s illness is best treated by seeing a family physician or visiting a walk-in clinic. If you’re unsure what health-care provider is best, try calling HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 for advice 24/7. 

When to visit the Emergency Department


When your child is feeling sick, seeking the right medical treatment is critical to their wellbeing.  Here are a few illnesses where we recommend you visit your local Emergency Department: 

  • If baby is younger than three months and has a temperature of over 38 C and they become lethargic or stop taking fluids
  • If your child has a persistent fever for more than four days 
  • If your child has trouble breathing, specifically if they are taking over 60 breaths per minute or have rapid breathing patterns
  • If your child’s vomit is bright green or contains blood
  • If your child is unable to drink or has not urinated within 12 hours
  • If your child has an injured limb or it looks crooked and swollen and Advil and/or Tylenol is not relieving pain 
  • If your child has a drug or alcohol overdose
Head injuries
Head injuries can be a serious concern. If your child has fallen over five feet, if your child has lost consciousness, is vomiting after a head injury, or if your baby is under three months old and has a visible bump after a head injury—all should be assessed by a health-care provider urgently. Most head injures require immediate medical attention and the Emergency Department is a good first step to seek treatment.   

Mental health
If your child is thinking about or trying to end their life, get urgent help by calling 9-1-1 or 1-800-SUICIDE.
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