See Your Doctor Within 24 Hours

possible cause Your child may have a liver problem such as hepatitis, in which a viral infection causes inflammation of liver cells.

action Your doctor will arrange for a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. He or she may also refer your child to hospital for further tests. To prevent the infection from spreading within the family, keep your child's eating utensils and towels separate. Your doctor may recommend that other members of the family are immunized against the disease.

SELF-HELP Coping with travel sickness

If your child suffers from travel sickness, some of the following suggestions may help:

• Give only light meals or snacks before and during your journey.

• Try to travel at night to encourage your child to sleep through the journey.

• Discourage your child from reading during your journey.

• Provide plenty of distractions, such as tapes of stories and songs.

• Try giving your child an over-the-counter travel sickness remedy before the journey. Your pharmacist can advise you.

• Be prepared. For example, bring a change of clothes for your child.

Looking out of the window

If your child su ffers from travel sickness, games that encourage him or her to look out the window may help.

l39> Abdominal pain

In, most cases, abdominal pain is short-lived and disappears on its own without treatment. However, in some cases, there may be a serious physical cause, such as appendicitis, that needs urgent medical attention. It can be difficult to decide whether abdominal pain in a child, particularly a young child, needs medical attention or whether to wait and see. If your child has stomach ache or if his or her behaviour causes you to suspect abdominal pain, consult this chart for advice.

EMERGENCY!

us call an ambulance

Possible cause A serious abdominal condition, such as appendicitis, is possible.

action Your child will probably be admitted to hospital, where his or her condition can be closely observed and tests carried out. Do not give him or her painkillers or anything to eat or drink while you are waiting for help. Your child may need surgery to identify and treat the cause of the pain.

Does your child have a swelling in either the groin or the scrotum?

Does the pain get worse when you gently press the child's abdomen?

possible cause This type of pain may be the first sign that your child has appendicitis or another condition in which the lining of the abdominal cavity becomes inflamed.

action Give your child sips of water but nothing else to drink or eat. Follow the advice for relieving abdominal pain (opposite). Watch your child carefully, and if the pain is still there after 4 hours, call your doctor.

Does your child have diarrhoea, or does passing faeces relieve the pain?

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