Medical and Developmental Health
Everyone deserves love, security, safety, good health and joy. FaCES has the privilege of working with you to keep your healthy and safe.
Health issues are more common and more severe for children in foster placement than their peers. It can be difficult and frustrating for you and we are here to help!
Disclaimer: This information represents a guide and does not replace medical advice from your doctor.
The information provided to you here will help indentify your health concerns and serves as a reference to support you and your foster family.
A fever is a body temperature that is higher than normal. It is the body’s way of fighting off infection and therefore it does not always need to be treated.
Fevers are very commonly seen in childhood illnesses, including respiratory (lung) and gastrointestinal (stomach) infections. In addition to raising a child’s temperature, fevers can also make a child’s breathing and heart beat faster Children often feel uncomfortable and irritable when they have a fever and don’t’ want to play. This crankiness improves when the fever goes away. Fevers in children tend to come and go, especially when they are getting fever medicine. They may be playful one minute and grumpy the next. This is normal, as long as there are no other worrisome signs such as extreme lethargy (laying around, won’t move.), difficulty breathing, persistent vomiting, unable or unwilling to drink, or extreme pain. Contact your child’s physician if the fever lasts for more than 48 hours.
Fevers are treated differently depending on the age and health of the child. To find out if you have a fever, ask your foster parent to take your temperature using a digital thermometer. You may feel warm to the touch, and not have a fever.
Earaches are common problems in children. The pain may be caused by fluid in the ear, referred pain from the throat or teeth, or an acute infection. Many children have ear pain when they get a cold or allergies, but the earache goes away on its own. Ear pain does not always indicate an infection, so you do not always need antibiotics.
Chest pain may be a sign of a serious problem – or it may be completely innocent and not worrisome. All chest pain lasting more than a few minutes should be discussed with your child’s doctor.
The common cold is due to viruses that are spread from one person to another by hand contact or coughing and sneezing. There are up to 200 different viruses that can cause colds. Cold air and drafts do not cause a child to get a cold.
- The average child under 6 years old gets 6-8 colds per year. These colds may last longer than when an adult gets the same illness.
- Children who go to school or daycare are especially likely to have many colds each year.
- Most colds aren’t serious and don’t need to be treated by a doctor.
- When your have a cold, make sure that you rest and drink lots of liquids (milk, juice and water)
- Wash your hands frequently so that you don’t give your cold to other people in the house.
Abdominal pain (“belly pain” or “stomach ache”) in children is common and can have many different causes. The pain often goes away by its own in a short time. Stomach aches may be caused by simple things, such as:
- Gas pains,
- Eating too much,
- Stress and worry, or
- Constipation: holding in bowel movements (poop)
If abdominal pain lasts longer than an hour and is getting worse, your child’s doctor should be called.
Vomiting (“throwing up,” “stomach flu”) is very common in childhood and is usually caused by a virus. A viral stomach illness typically causes vomiting and diarrhea, and lasts 24-48 hours (but can last longer). Children will sometimes have a slightly elevated temperature.
Your bowel movements (BM’s, poops, stools) will probably vary in frequency and texture from day to day. It is normal to have an occasional “loose” stool. However, when a child experiences a sudden change from formed, solid stools to frequent, watery stools, this is diarrhea.
- Diarrhea is a common childhood problem.
- Diarrhea is often due to a viral stomach illness. It can occur with vomiting and a low-grade fever that typically lasts 3-6 days.
Though most viral stomach illnesses usually go away on their own with time, rest and fluids. It is important to monitor your child for signs of dehydration dehydration. Remember that Remember, children lose a lot of water and salt when they have diarrhea. It takes less time for younger children to become dehydrated than older children.
Tooth pain is common and can be very distressing to children. In babies, pain may be caused by teething, as new teeth work their way through the gums.Teething should not give a child a fever.
In older children, tooth pain is often caused by tooth decay (cavities). Tooth decay is a result of bacterial growth that occurs when teeth are exposed to sugary liquids and foods for long periods of time. To help keep your teeth healthy, make sure that you get regular dental exams.
Most head injuries aren’t serious and don’t cause any long-term problems. If you have had only a light bump to the head, you may cry for a short time and then go back to playing. In this case, you can stay at home. But it is important to know when a head injury could be serious, so you can seek appropriate medical care.
All children should wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, scooter, or skateboard, wearing roller skates, or when skiing or horseback riding. The helmet should cover the top of your forehead.
Injuries are the leading cause of death in children aged 1-21 years. If you are injured, it is important to act quickly and get the appropriate help. Several common injuries and ways to prevent them are addressed here. These include burns, animal bites, cuts, broken bones, poison ingestion, choking, strangulation and drowning.
All children suffer minor injuries during normal play, but sometimes injuries can be serious, like a fracture or broken bone. A bone may break due to a fall, car crash, or other accident. If you have a fracture, it is important to get appropriate medical care, which may include a cast or splint. Bones that heal incorrectly can affect your growth and cause long-term problems.
Most bites occur from pets in the home or from other people, but children can get bitten by wild animals as well. The main concern with any bite is infection, especially if the bite has broken the skin. Bites can get infected very easily and you may need medicine to prevent the spread of infection. Even though the skin seems clean, there may be bacteria underneath the skin in the bite. Less commonly, wild animals or house pets who have not received all of their shots may spread serious diseases to your children through biting.
Most rashes in infants and children aren’t serious. Many rashes will go away on their own without any treatment. Some rashes are more worrisome and need to be treated by a doctor.
Dial 911 if you have these serious warning signs and appear to be having a serious allergic reaction. If you carry an EpiPen give the shot right away.
- Severe difficulty breathing (wheezing)
- Feeling tightness in chest and throat
- Breaking out in rash (hives), swelling, or itching over most of the body
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness
- Swelling of the lips and tongue
Bug (insect) bites and stings can be itchy or painful. Your skin may get swollen and red in the area of the bite or sting. Stinging insects such as bees, wasps and hornets have venom in their stingers that causes pain and swelling. In most cases, you can treat bug bites and stings at home. However, some children may have an allergic reaction to the venom, and may need a doctor’s attention.
Deer ticks are common in the northeastern United States. They are found in forests or grassy, wooded areas from late spring until early fall. You may even have ticks in your backyard. Most tick bites are harmless, but sometimes a deer tick can spread Lyme Disease or other diseases. Early detection and removal of a tick from your body is key to prevent you from getting Lyme Disease.
Check yourself for ticks after playing outdoors near wooded areas or tall grasses. Pay particularly attention to the scalp, neck, armpits, and groin. Deer ticks are small, so look closely.
If you suspect you may have had contact with a toxic chemical or a medicine that is not yours, call your doctor and the poison control center immediately If you cannot find the number for poison control, dial 911 and ask for the poison center
Regional Poison Control Center (RI and Massachusetts): 1-800-222-1222
Information to tell the Poison Control Center:
- Swallowed poison
- Poison on Skin
- Poison in Eye
- Poison Fumes
- Poisoning Prevention