World Anesthesia Day: Know all about safety of anesthesia for kids

A visit to the hospital can cause anxiety for both kids and adults. Furthermore, if this involves certain procedures that require anesthesia for a child – such as a surgery – it becomes all the more worrisome. As parents, we tend to become anxious at the thought of our child undergoing medical procedure. But it’s only natural. Let us put to rest some of your questions on anesthesia for children.

What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia makes use of a medicine to prevent discomfort during medical procedures. Most people, including children, do not have any problems after use of anesthesia. The process works by blocking signals in the nervous system. There are three different types of anesthesia, general, regional and local. The type of anesthesia depends on factors like the type of surgery or procedure, age and medical condition of the individual.

Preparing for anesthesia

Before a child is administered anesthesia, doctors and nurses work to ease any fears for the child and parents. While giving an anesthetic, they keep a close watch on the child’s breathing, heart rate and rhythm, body temperature, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels. After general anesthesia, kids are shifted to a recovery room where parents or caregivers can join their child till they are conscious. In some cases, children can go home on the same day or may have to stay back in the hospital if required.

The doctor will tell you all about anesthesia. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Are there any side effects of anesthesia?

In most cases, anesthesia usually does not have any dangerous side effects and the common side effects including nausea, vomiting, chills, etc. may go away quickly. Rarely, it can cause serious problems such as abnormal heart rhythms, allergic reactions to the medicines or even death. The risks depend on the surgical procedure, condition of the patient and the type of patient. Parents should discuss possible risks for their child with their healthcare provider.

Also, read: Covid-19 vaccines for kids: A pediatrician addresses 10 FAQs

Things to know before putting a child through anesthesia

Most children do not have any problems with anesthesia. Before your child undergoes anesthesia, you will be asked to share following information for your child:

  • Current and past health status including any breathing problems like asthma
  • Is your child taking any medicines – prescription and others, supplements or herbal drugs
  • Is your child allergic to certain medicines, foods or latex
  • Whether your child uses any drugs, smokes or drinks alcohol
  • Whether your child or any family member has had any past reactions to anesthesia
Inform all the medical information regarding your child clearly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Further, follow the hospital team’s recommendations about what needs to be done before anesthesia. These would include concerns such as when you need to stop food and water for your child and whether other medicines or herbal supplements also need to be stopped prior to surgery. Inform your child’s doctor and care team if your child has a cough and/or runny nose or breathing problem in the days before the surgery.

As you give your best to follow all the instructions for anesthesia to the last word, sit back and relax and let your child’s medical team do their job.

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