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Knowing your Child's Medical History

When providing emergency care, doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel like paramedics will have many questions about a patient's medical history. And even the most organized parent might not be able to remember the details of a child's health history in a stressful situation.

That's why it's important to keep a comprehensive record of your kids' health information nearby. In many cases, this information can help a medical professional make quicker diagnoses and decisions during an emergency, when each second counts.

Some hospitals have computerized medical records that keep all medical information about a patient in one place. So when you get to the hospital, everything about your child's history will be available. But it's still a good idea to update your family's records because something like a medication may have changed since the last visit.

Keeping Track of Medical Information

Refer to the categories below to create a complete health record for your kids; if applicable, also use the hospital's computerized record.

Keep one copy of the record in an accessible place at home (such as on the refrigerator) or by the phone, one in each car, one at each parent's workplace, and one in each parent's bag or wallet. Also send a copy to your kids' schools or childcare, and give one to any regular caregivers, along with the name and number of your doctor.

Allergies

Record on your list any known allergies your child has to medications, both prescription and nonprescription, and any known allergic reactions to insect stings and bites and food allergies. In addition, some kids may have latex allergies. In many cases, allergy information helps medical personnel discover a cause for problems like swelling or difficulty breathing.

Medications

Certain medications can't be taken together, so paramedics need to know all medications (prescription and nonprescription) your kids take before they can administer certain drugs.

A child's symptoms also could be due to side effects of medications, which is another reason it's important to report everything being taken. In addition, you need to know the doses, the dosing schedules, and when and how much of the medications were recently taken.

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