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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR PATIENT GOES HOME?

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May.04.2020
 Acute Pain, Pediatric

Acute Pain, Pediatric

Acute pain is a type of sudden pain that may last for just a few days or for as long as six months. It is often related to an illness, injury, or medical procedure. Acute pain may be mild, moderate, or severe. It usually goes away once your child's injury has healed or your child is no longer ill.
Pain can make it hard for your child to do his or her normal, daily activities. It can cause anxiety and lead to other problems if it is left untreated. Treatment depends on the cause and severity of your child's acute pain.

Follow these instructions at home:

Medicines

  • Treatment should involve the lowest dose of medicine for the shortest amount of time needed to relieve the pain. Give your child over-the-counter and prescription pain medicines only as told by your child's health care provider.
    • Read labels and instructions to make sure your child's dose matches his or her age and weight.
    • Follow instructions carefully. Some medicines cannot be chewed, cut, or crushed.
  • If your child is taking prescription pain medicine:
    • Do not stop giving your child the medicine suddenly. Check with your child's health care provider about how and when to discontinue prescription pain medicine.
    • Do not give more medicine than told by your child's health care provider even if your child's pain is severe.
    • Do not give other over-the-counter pain medicines in addition to this medicine unless told by your child's health care provider.
    • Ask your child's health care provider if the medicine prescribed to your child can cause constipation. You may need to:
      • Have your child drink enough fluid to keep his or her urine pale yellow.
      • Give your child over-the-counter or prescription medicines.
      • Have your child eat foods that are high in fiber, such as beans, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
      • Limit foods in your child's diet that are high in fat and processed sugars, such as fried or sweet foods.

Managing pain, stiffness, and swelling


If directed, put ice on the affected area. To do this:
  • Put ice in a plastic bag.
  • Place a towel between your child's skin and the bag.
  • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times a day.
If directed, apply heat to the affected area as often as told by your child's health care provider. Use the heat source that your child's health care provider recommends, such as a moist heat pack or a heating pad.
  • Place a towel between your child's skin and the heat source.
  • Leave the heat on for 20–30 minutes.
  • Remove the heat if your child's skin turns bright red. This is especially important if your child is unable to feel pain, heat, or cold. He or she may have a greater risk of getting burned.

Activity

  • Have your child rest as told by his or her health care provider.
  • Have your child return to his or her normal activities as told by his or her health care provider. Ask your child's health care provider what activities are safe for your child.

General instructions

  • Ask your child's health care provider if other strategies such as distraction, relaxation, or physical therapies will help relieve your child's pain.
  • Check your child's pain level as told by your child's health care provider. Ask your child's health care provider if you can use a pain scale to determine your child's pain level.
    • Young children can use a rating system with pictures of faces.
    • Older children can use a number system to rate their pain.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your child's health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if your child:

  • Has pain that is not controlled by medicine.
  • Has pain that does not improve or gets worse.
  • Has side effects from pain medicines, such as vomiting or confusion.

Get help right away if your child:

  • Has severe pain.
  • Has trouble breathing.
  • Loses consciousness.
These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.).

Summary

  • Acute pain may be mild, moderate, or severe. It usually goes away once your child's injury has healed or your child is no longer ill.
  • Give your child over-the-counter and prescription pain medicines only as told by your child's health care provider.
  • Read labels and instructions to make sure your child's dose matches his or her age and weight.
  • If your child is taking prescription pain medicine, ask your child's health care provider if it can cause constipation.
  • Contact a health care provider if your child's pain is not controlled by medicine.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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