Child sneezing due to respiratory illness.

Respiratory Illnesses in Children: When to Seek Emergency Care For Your Child

Caring for your child suffering from a respiratory illness can be challenging, especially if symptoms become severe. Do they need rest and fluids, or should you seek medical care immediately? Knowing what signs to look out for is essential to determine the severity of the illness and how quickly you should seek treatment.

This blog post will discuss common warning signs that may help you decide when to seek medical attention for your child's respiratory illness.


Dehydration occurs when there is insufficient fluid in the body to function correctly; this is especially dangerous for young children who are still developing. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, decreased urination, dry skin, extreme tiredness or irritability, and dark circles around the eyes. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms along with a respiratory illness (mainly if it includes fever), you should immediately seek emergency medical attention.

Poor Skin Color

Additionally, if your child’s skin is bluish or their lips are purple instead of pink, this could be a sign of severe respiratory distress. If you notice any of these signs in your child, immediately take them to the nearest emergency room. These symptoms could indicate that their airways are blocked, or they are not getting enough oxygen into their lungs. In some cases, poor circulation due to dehydration can also cause this symptom, so look out for other signs of dehydration listed above.

Severe Pain and Fever

Another sign that something more serious may be going on with a respiratory illness is severe pain or fever. If your child is complaining about chest or abdominal pain, it may be time to go to the emergency room, as this could indicate something more severe than just a common cold or flu virus. Additionally, if your child has a fever higher than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, this could signal an infection requiring immediate attention from healthcare professionals.

Shortness of Breath

If your child has difficulty breathing, such as labored breathing or breathing too quickly (more than 30 breaths per minute), you should seek emergency medical care immediately. Difficulty breathing can signal more serious ailments such as asthma attacks, pneumonia, croup, or other illnesses that can cause swelling in the throat and airways. It may also signal carbon monoxide poisoning if you have any gas-powered appliances in your home.

What if I’m Overreacting?

When dealing with a sick child who displays respiratory distress symptoms such as difficulty breathing, severe pain/fever, extreme dehydration/poor skin color, etc., it's essential to act fast by seeking medical help from an emergency center immediately. Be sure to seek help before their condition worsens!

Remember that you know what's best for your children and trust in yourself when making decisions about their health. Don't hesitate to bring them in if you think something more serious than just a cold or flu virus is going on! Take action now, as their health depends on it!

Our team at Quality Care ER will determine the underlying cause of your child’s respiratory illness and get them back to feeling their best. If your child is experiencing shortness of breath, severe pain & fever, poor skin color, or signs of dehydration, call us at (903) 417-0886 or stop by our emergency room.