… if your child has unexpected medical symptoms
When we become parents, worrying is part of our Job Description – and late night rashes, fevers, coughs or headaches can sometimes have us rushing towards the nearest hospital. Fortunately, the majority of unexpected medical symptoms are non-life threatening, and can be safely treated at home by a qualified health professional.
If you need unexpected medical care on weekends, weeknights or during school holidays – it’s comforting to know that after-hours help is available. Today many services are accessible with the click of a button, with Australian qualified doctors and nurses available on the phone or online 24/7.
Here are our top recommendations if your family needs medical care:
Health Direct is a free national public information service, run by the Department of Health. The 24-hour Health Direct phone line provides Australians with reliable advice from a registered nurse. The website also offers an online Symptom Checker, allowing families to make an assessment on the type of medical care they may require – day or night.
Visit: www.healthdirect.gov.au | Phone: 1800 022 222
Australian pharmacies offer a trusted source of walk-in health information and advice. If you need to find a pharmacy after-hours, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia provides a helpful national list that can be searched based on location, opening hours or services. A range of online resources are also available from The Pharmacy Guild, detailing how your chemist can assist with asthma management, wound care or more common symptoms, such as coughs and colds.
Instant Consult is a free smartphone app, which allows patients to video chat in real-time with an Australian registered and qualified GP – 24/7. An Instant Consult is very similar to an in-person consultation, and their GPs can provide a range of healthcare services – including prescriptions, referrals, medical certificates and treatment plans. Instant Consult provides families with peace of mind when they need unexpected medical care, can’t access their regular GP, or want to avoid lengthy Emergency queues for non-life threatening conditions.
Visit: www.instantconsult.com.au | Phone: 1300 003 310
After-hours home doctors
A number of home-visiting doctors are available across Australia, administering after-hours medical care in the comfort of your own living room. The National Association of Medical Deputising (NAMDS) provide a list of accredited home-visiting doctor services – ensuring that your family can access treatments, prescriptions and medical certificates wherever you are this school holidays. Home-visiting doctors will also refer consultation notes to your regular GP, for continuity of care.
4 common reasons for seeking medical care after-hours:
The reality is that children get sick any time of year, and the Christmas holidays are no exception. Whether it’s coughs, colds, headaches or fever – certain medical symptoms can develop rapidly and may require medical intervention. According to Dr Kenneth Moroney, an Instant Consult doctor with over 45 years’ clinical experience, common medical complaints among young families include:
• Headaches and earaches
Your little one may be suffering from an ear infection if they’re in a poor mood, have low energy and appetite, or are frequently tugging on their ear. Headaches are also very common among children, although most stem from benign causes.
• Coughs and colds
Unfortunately, coughs and colds are very easily passed from one family member to another. Coughs can require urgent medical investigation if they sound overly harsh, hoarse, wheezy or barking; or restrict breathing in any way.
• Fever and temperatures
A fever is characterised by an abnormally high body temperature, shivering and headaches. In extreme cases, a fever can cause delirium. Whilst fever is the body’s natural response to infection, it should be considered a visual sign that medical attention is required.
• Rashes and skin irritations
Children’s skin is often exposed to new elements, including everything from the sun to bacteria. A ‘tumbler test’ can help separate skin irritations from more the more serious non-blanching type of rash. If in doubt, always seek medical opinion to diagnose a skin rash.
This article is general in nature, and does not take into consideration your family’s unique medical needs. In an Emergency, always phone Triple 0 (000) and ask for Ambulance, Police or Fire.