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Friday 19th July 2019

Doctors must take parents concerns seriously

23rd November 2012

New guidance on how doctors and nurses should respond to parental concerns about their child’s health have been drawn up.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said health professionals should take such concerns seriously, as parents are often the best judges of their children when they have a fever.

The guidelines acknowledge it is often difficult to distinguish between a simple virus and a life-threatening disease like meningitis in children amid concerns that doctors are still missing the signs of meningitis and sending children home.

Symptoms associated with fever in children have been grouped into a traffic light system: green is for low risk where the child has a normal skin colour, responds to their name and is smiling; amber or intermediate risk symptoms include difficulty waking, faster breathing, raised heart-rate and reduced activity; while red or high risk symptoms were a non-blanching rash, weak or high pitched cry, no response to his or her name and seizures.

A green rating can see a child sent home with further advice and information, amber symptoms may need to be referred to a specialist, while children in the red category should be seen by a specialist within two hours.

NICE first published national guidelines to provide all healthcare professionals with a practical tool to assess the symptoms of a child with fever and advise them on how they should be cared for within the appropriate setting in 2007 but said there is still evidence that the management of young children presenting with fever varies.


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