Something that rarely crosses the minds of most people is the possibility of developing appendicitis. It’s relatively unlikely that anyone will suffer from it during their lifetime, although this varies for different demographics; teenage males are said to be the highest risk group. However, it is a dangerous condition that, if left untreated, can be fatal. When the appendix becomes inflamed, which can happen for any number of unknown reasons, it has a high chance of rupturing which can cause deadly internal infections.
That’s why it’s important to understand the signs and be cautious, especially if you’re a parent with young children. The most common symptom is abdominal pain, which may be mild or very intense. It usually presents itself around the belly button and typically within a day would spread to the lower right side of the body around where the appendix is located. Additional symptoms normally include a temperature, nausea, vomiting and being unable to eat or drink. A combination of most or all of these symptoms is likely to be an indication of appendicitis, but you must consult a healthcare professional immediately to be sure.
If you are diagnosed with appendicitis as a result of these symptoms presenting themselves, it’s fairly common for the appendix to be surgically removed. As long as this happens before the appendix ruptures then you’re highly likely to make a full and fast recovery. However, antibiotics are also effective in many cases as a means of controlling the inflammation and reducing it to the point that surgery can be delayed or avoided altogether. As a result it is more common these days to trial antibiotics as a first step before resorting to emergency surgery, lowering the risk of complications for patients whose appendicitis is not yet at a critical point.
The biggest risk overall is the initial symptoms not being recognised or not being noticeable enough, which unfortunately can be an issue in young children. While adults and older children will experience similar signs of appendicitis in almost all cases, it’s harder to spot these in children below the age of five or six. This makes a professional examination even more important.