Karl Stefanovic has revealed the panic that ensued when his daughter Harper’s snuff nose brought her to the emergency room earlier this week.
Like so many kids this flu season, the two-year-old had suffered from a lingering cough and runny nose since the cooler weather.
But within hours, Harper’s symptoms got worse and Karl and his wife Jasmine began to worry.
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“Within about six hours she had a fever. We gave her Nurofen and Panadol as advised and put her to sleep,” Karl said.
But when Harper awoke from her nap, her breathing was strained, she was wheezing, she had a fever, and her heart rate had risen.
“We took her to our GP, who is brilliant, but within a few minutes her condition deteriorated, her temperature was over 40°C and her heart rate was over 200 beats per minute,” he said.
Karl said his GP used a nebulizer to stabilize Harper, but when an ambulance was called to take the little girl to hospital, the reality dawned on her how serious her condition was.
He said he and Jasmine felt guilty for not taking Harper directly to the hospital, but chose to see the doctor.
“When doctors start working fast, you start to worry more and I think the hardest thing for us to know was – we probably should have taken her straight to the hospital, but instead we took her to the GP, said Karl.
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But associate professor Margie Danchin, a pediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital, said emergency departments are currently overwhelmed, parents may be unsure — but there are certain symptoms to watch out for before taking the next step.
“We don’t want parents going to the emergency department to have to wait six to eight hours to see their primary care doctor,” she said.
“If a child has difficulty breathing or blue around the lips, or signs of dehydration – if they are not drinking, if they are listless or pale, these are the things a parent should encourage to take their child to the emergency department.” .
“But if the child has a fever, cough, runny nose or those kinds of milder respiratory symptoms, then we would encourage them to go to community care first.”
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Danchin said there has been a large increase in the number of children with influenza A since March, with 20 percent requiring hospitalization.
But in the past month there has been an increase in hospitalizations of children with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which Harper would have had and in extreme cases can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
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