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Arm Fracture in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
An arm fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in your child's arm.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child's pain gets worse, even after he or she rests and takes medicine.
- Your child's arm, hand, or fingers feel numb.
- Your child's arm is swollen, red, and feels warm.
- Your child's skin over the fracture is swollen, cold, or pale.
- Your child cannot move his or her arm, hand, or fingers.
Call your child's doctor if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child's brace or splint becomes wet, damaged, or comes off.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Your child may need any of the following:
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give this medicine safely.
- 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.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her 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.
Help manage your child's symptoms:
- Apply ice on your child's arm for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Elevate your child's arm above the level of his or her heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop his or her arm on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Have your child rest his or her arm as much as possible. Do not let your child put pressure on his or her arm or use his or her arm to lift anything. Ask his or her healthcare provider when he or she can return to sports and other activities.
Care for your child's cast or splint:
Follow instructions about when your child may take a bath or shower. It is important not to get the cast or splint wet. Cover the device with 2 plastic bags before you let your child bathe. Tape the bags to your child's skin above the device to help keep out water. Have your child keep his or her arm out of the water in case the has a hole or leak.
- Check the skin around your child's cast or splint daily for any redness or open skin.
- Do not let your child use a sharp or pointed object to scratch his or her skin under the brace or splint.
- Do not let your child push down or lean on any part of the cast, because it may break.
Take your child to physical therapy as directed:
A physical therapist can teach your child exercises to help improve movement and strength and to decrease pain.
Follow up with your child's doctor within 1 week:
Your child may need to see a bone specialist within 3 to 4 days if he or she needs surgery or more treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
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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.
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