CHILDREN often have funny tummies and more often than not it's nothing to worry about.
But sometimes, stomach cramps can be a sign that something more serious is going on.
But how do you know when it's worth visiting the hospital and when a hot water bottle will suffice?
Thankfully, experts have created a new tool to help parents respond correctly to their child when they are in pain.
The system, launched by the Belfast Trust, breaks down symptom severity into red, amber and green categories.
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If you spot any of these symptoms in your child, it might be that they require emergency treatment.
You should call 999 or take them to your nearest A&E department.
- Your baby becomes pale and floppy
- Becomes drowsy or difficult to wake
- Vomit with blood (bright red or dark brown) or bile (dark green – colour of spinach or sprouts)
- Develops severe pain despite pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Has testicular pain (in boys)
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If your child has a tummy ache but there are no red symptoms present, check for any amber signs.
In the case of amber symptoms your child doesn't need to go to A&E, but you do need to seek medical advice asap.
Call your GP surgery during opening hours, or call NHS 111 out of hours.
If these symptoms persist for four hours or more and you can't get hold of a GP, then it is worth going to A&E.
- Your baby develops a swollen tummy
- Has blood in their poo or wee
- Experiences constant pain for more than one day despite painkillers
- Has a fever or symptoms continuing for more than five days
- Becomes increasingly thirsty or is weeing significantly more or less than normal
- Develops yellow skin or eyes
- Has weight loss
If your child is crying but you've checked and there is no sign of any red or amber symptoms, then you can try to manage your baby at home.
If you're still concerned and can't settle them, you can try your health visitor or GP. You can also try your local pharmacy for general advice.
Green symptoms include:
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- Your baby is alert and interacts with you
- Develops diarrhoea and vomiting but no red or amber signs
- Experiences pain associated with menstruation in a girl (periods)
- Is frequently constipated
A similar traffic light system has also been created to help parents know how to respond to their baby crying and when to take them to hospital.
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