Top 5 signs your child's flu or cold needs to be treated in the emergency department now.

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The annual arrival of the flu season can put any parent on edge "“ wondering if there is something more behind a cough or if time will relieve a slight fever. Any loving parent would (and should) be concerned over any suspected symptoms of the flu, in the opinion of Dr. Joseph Zajchowski, an emergency medicine physician at McLaren Lapeer Region. 

"The flu season can make a lot of parents nervous about any cough or sniffle," Dr. Zajchowski said. "You ask yourself if you should wait for an appointment with your family doctor, or are the symptoms serve and should I take them to the ER. We see a lot of parents in our ER who have asked themselves the same questions." 

Out of the love for their children and their children's health, many parents will exercise caution by not waiting and choosing instead to head to the nearest emergency department. 

But it begs the question, at what point do your child's symptoms warrant a trip to the emergency room? And when is it safe to wait for the family doctor? 

Dr. Zajchowski, offers his expert opinion on the top signs that you should not wait on and head to the emergency room now. 

A fever greater than 102.5 degrees 
As the body's internal temperature elevates, so does the potential for brain damage. A temp of 102.5 is a cause for concern, while a fever becomes dangerous once it hits 104-degrees. 

Your child's breathing has changed and become labored 
A change in your child's breathing, whether they are taking shallow breathes or if the breathing has become labored, is a clear sign that they are not getting the oxygen they need. 

Your child is not acting like their usual self 
Changes in your child's demeanor is symptomatic of neurological changes and a sign that an infection has progressed to a dangerous level. 

There is a decrease in urination 
Keeping the body hydrated is vital in the immune system's fight against infection by oxygenating the blood and helping flush the body's system of toxins. A decrease in urination is a telltale sign of the body's lack of proper hydration. 

Your child refuses to eat or drink 
A body fighting an infection (whether viral or bacterial) requires a lot of energy. Without a supply of energy from proper nutrition, the body's immune system won't have the energy it needs to fight the infection.

If your child's cough or cold begins to exhibit any of these symptoms, take them to nearest emergency department for timely treatment.

To learn more about emergency care at McLaren Lapeer Region, visit