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 Integrative Medicine: Emergencies 

Stay with your child. Try to stay with your child until emergency personnel arrive, or until the situation is resolved. If possible, have someone else place the call for emergency services. Your child needs to feel the reassurance of your presence. Talk to her, using simple explanations to describe what's happening. Fear of the unknown makes matters worse. If you are sure that she has not suffered an injury to her head, neck, or back, hold your child close. Otherwise, just gently touch and soothe. As you do so, carefully observe any changes in your child's condition, such as shifts in breathing or heart rate, or changes in her level of pain or consciousness. Certain emergencies will require your immediate intervention.

Be alert for signs of shock. Shock is a serious condition that results from a sudden and life-threatening drop in blood pressure, which in turn impairs circulation and threatens the brain's oxygen supply. Shock can occur after any trauma to the body, whether from near-drowning, severe injury, major blood loss, or overwhelming infection.

A child suffering from shock may become pale and sweaty, possibly drowsy, confused, and/or disoriented. Shock is usually accompanied by profound weakness, dizziness, faintness, and a cold sweat. The pulse may be weak and feeble.

If you suspect shock, lay your child down on her back and put pillows under her feet to raise her feet higher than her head. Loosen tight or constricting clothing, and cover your child with a blanket. The goal is to insure normal breathing while maintaining normal body temperature and adequate blood circulation to the brain.

If emergency personnel are not already on their way to you, seek emergency medical attention for your child immediately.

What You Should Know About Internal Bleeding

If your child has been involved in an accident and broken a bone, ruptured an internal organ, or suffered a blow to the abdomen or head, internal bleeding may result. internal bleeding occurs when blood leaks from damaged vessels inside the body into body cavities, such as the abdomen, chest, or skull, or into other tissues.

Internal bleeding is not easily observed from outside. Signs of internal bleeding can include a rigid, tight abdomen; a tight, painful chest; blood in the vomit or stools; or a trickle of blood coming from the mouth, nose, or ear. Bright red, frothy blood tends to be coming from the lungs; dark red or black blood tends to be coming from the stomach. Internal bleeding can cause your child to go into shock.

A definitive diagnosis of internal bleeding must usually be made by a physician, who will rely on x-rays, laboratory tests, and blood measurements to assess your child's condition.

If you suspect that your child may be bleeding internally, call for emergency help and stress the urgency of the situation. As you wait for help to arrive, have your child lie down as follows:

  • If your child is conscious and not vomiting, place her on her back with a small pillow under her head, which should be turned to one side.
  • If your child is unconscious, or is vomiting, place her on her stomach, with her head fumed to one side. Arrange the arm and leg on that side of your child's body with the elbow bent and the hand level with the jaw; the knee should be bent and the leg pulled up so that the thigh is at a right angle to the body. Pull your child's chin forward and up so that her tongue cannot block her throat. Do not use a pillow.
Cover your child lightly with a blanket and keep her still. Do not give her anything by mouth-no medicine or food, or liquid of any kind-before a doctor has assessed the situation, and do not move her. Stay with your child, and try to remain calm and reassuring. Rely on medical personnel to take the appropriate emergency steps to stabilize your child's condition and prepare her body for transport to the hospital. Be prepared for the possibility that she may require a blood transfusion or the administration of intravenous saline solution to maintain fluid levels even before reaching the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, a child with internal bleeding will likely need immediate surgery to repair the damage that is causing the bleeding. After surgery, your child may be put in an intensive care unit and monitored closely until her condition has stabilized and she can begin the process of recovery.
(Excerpted from Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child ISBN: 1583331395)
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 About The Author
Janet Zand LAc, OMDJANET ZAND, O.M.D., L.Ac. is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner and herbal products formulator whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health....more
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