Signs that your kid might have appendicitis

Appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix) requires immediate medical attention, so its important that parents learn its symptoms so they can seek medical care if their kids are showing any signs of it right away. A kid with abdominal pain, nausea and fever may have appendicitis or any of a number of other problems.

Reporting on their review of the frequency of the most common symptoms of actual appendicitis in children, the researchers concluded that beyond fever, the most common signs are rebound tenderness or pain that occurs after pressure is removed abruptly from the lower right part of the abdomen; abdominal pain that starts around the belly button and migrates down and to the right.

The appendix is a small finger-like organ thats attached to the large intestine in the lower right side of the abdomen. If the infected appendix isnt removed, it can burst and spread bacteria. The infection from a ruptured appendix is very serious - it can form an abscess (an infection of pus) or spread throughout the abdomen (this type of infection is called peritonitis).

Appendicitis mostly affects kids and teens between 11 and 20 years old, and is rare in infants. Its one of the most common reasons for emergency abdominal surgery in kids. Appendicitis is not contagious.

It is very likely that your child has appendicitis if it has the following most common symptoms:

(1) Significant abdominal pain, especially around the bellybutton or in the lower right part of the abdomen (perhaps coming and going and then becoming consistent and sharp)
(2) Low-grade fever
(3) Loss of appetite
(4) Nausea and vomiting
(5) Diarrhea (especially small amounts, with mucus)
(6) Swollen or bloated abdomen, especially in infants

There is no way to prevent appendicitis, but with sophisticated diagnostic tests and antibiotics, most cases are identified and treated without complications.

If appendicitis goes untreated, the inflamed appendix can burst 24 to 72 hours after the symptoms begin. If the appendix has burst, the pain may spread across the whole abdomen, and the childs fever may be very high, reaching 104°F (40°C).

The symptoms of appendicitis can vary according to a childs age. In kids 2 years old or younger, the most common symptoms are vomiting and a bloated or swollen abdomen, accompanied by pain....