Rib Fracture In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A rib fracture is a crack or break in one or more of your child's ribs. Your child's ribs are the bones that connect from the front of his chest to his spine (backbone). All of the bones of your child's ribs make his rib cage.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling and pain. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask which medicine is right for your child. Ask how much he should take and when he should take it. He should take these as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
- Pain medicine: Your child may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. Know how often your child should get the medicine and how much. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell caregivers if his pain continues or gets worse. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him get out of bed.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age: Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
Follow up with your child's primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Deep breathing exercise:
- Ask your child to take a slow, deep breath. Have him hold the breath as long as he can and then exhale (breathe out). Tell your child to do this 10 times in a row every hour while he is awake. This exercise helps keep him from getting a lung infection. Your child can brace his ribs with his hands or a pillow while he takes the deep breaths to help decrease pain.
- Your child may be given an incentive spirometer. This device helps your child take deeper breaths. Put the plastic piece into your child's mouth and ask him to take a deep breath. Tell your child to hold his breath as long as he can, then breathe out. Have your child use the incentive spirometer 10 times in a row every hour while he is awake.
Your child should rest as much as possible and get plenty of sleep.
Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on the fractured area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.
Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:
- Your child has a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your child coughs a lot or coughs up thick or bloody sputum (spit).
- Your child has abdominal pain.
- Your child has trouble breathing.
- Your child's pain gets worse, even after treatment.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.