Today, host Karl Stefanovic made an emotional plea to parents after a “really scary” flight to the hospital.
Today, host Karl Stefanovic has urged parents to be vigilant after a sudden health anxiety sent his young daughter to hospital.
He opened up Friday morning about the “really scary” ordeal while hosting Channel 9’s Today show, where he got emotional when he told of how suddenly his one-year-old daughter Harper became seriously ill.
Two days ago, the father of four said his toddler was “snoring and coughing” that quickly developed into a fever. She was put to sleep, but woke up with wheezing and difficult breathing, a pounding heartbeat and a rising temperature.
Stefanovic and his wife Jasmine rushed their daughter to the doctor, but the toddler’s condition deteriorated dramatically and she had to be rushed to hospital.
While the breakfast show host praised the health staff for their timely and “brilliant job,” he said he knew he wasn’t the only parent to have had this “shared experience.”
“There were literally thousands of parents in similar situations,” he said.
“We’re lucky it wasn’t more serious, and we were lucky we had good people around her.”
Pediatrician Margie Danchin of the Royal Children’s Hospital agreed it was a “familiar story”.
“Having been so hard for parents with Covid for the past two years, we are now only seeing a massive increase in viral respiratory infections for children,” she said.
Michael Bonning, president of the Australian Medical Association, said the dramatic increase could be due to a lack of exposure to respiratory viruses and flu.
“We know that for infants and toddlers who have not been exposed at all to (respiratory viruses and flu) in the past two years, this initial exposure can be quite severe,” he said.
“We know that the flu is a serious illness in children under the age of five.”
According to a recent report, children under the age of five are one of the age groups most at risk for contracting the potentially “life-threatening” flu.
“They are one of our priority groups for immunization,” said Dr. Bonning.
“That’s something we want to encourage all parents to think about, especially now that there’s a bit of a flash for flu vaccination across the country.”
dr. Danchin said emergency departments had a spike in the number of sick children, 20 percent of whom had to be hospitalized.
Stefanvic admitted he felt “guilty” for not taking Harper directly to the hospital, but Dr. Danchin said a GP was the best option for parents who might otherwise have to wait as long as eight hours in the “overwhelmed” emergency department.
She said children with mild symptoms should see a doctor, but she urged parents to go straight to the hospital if their child had difficulty breathing, blueness around the lips, signs of dehydration and listlessness.
Parents should assess their child’s breathing by looking at the notch at the bottom of the neck and around the ribs to see if they are breathing faster than usual or are having trouble breathing.
dr. Bonning urged parents to seek professional advice early, as a child’s condition can change very quickly.
“Your GP is often a really good person to have that conversation with when it’s a fever and runny nose and you just want to talk to someone and get advice,” he said.
He said it would help parents prepare for the disease if they knew what to look for in terms of triggers and warning signs.
Stefanovic said he hoped sharing his family’s experience would help other families facing similar circumstances.
“There’s nothing more humiliating than when one of your kids goes downstairs and goes down quickly when they’re sick,” he said.