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Sedation for a Medical Procedure

After Your Child’s Visit

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​Your Care Instructions

Your child may have been given a mix of sedatives (medicine to help your child relax) and analgesics (medicine to help with pain) when he or she had the procedure or surgery.

The relaxing and pain relieving effects of the medicines may last up to 24 hours. Your child may have some pain after the procedure when the medicines wear off. Ask your child about his or her pain. Pain medicines work better if your child takes them before the pain gets bad.

Side effects of the medicines may include:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • feeling tired
  • vomiting (throwing up)
  • nausea (feeling sick to his or her stomach)

Your child may have nightmares or not sleep for up to 24 hours. Sitting with your child in a quiet, dark room may help them sleep. Your child might not be steady when walking for up to 2 hours after the procedure.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments. Call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results, and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

Activity

  • Your child may feel sleepy for up to 24 hours after the procedure. If your child goes to sleep, wake your child up after 2 hours to check how he or she is doing. Do this 2 times, then let your child sleep or rest when he or she feels tired. Getting enough sleep will help your child recover.

Diet

In the first 2 hours after the procedure, only give your child clear fluids (e.g., water).

If your child does not throw up, you can start giving soft foods (e.g., bananas or yogurt), then a normal diet when he or she feels ready. If your child's stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, toast, yogurt, and boiled chicken.

Have your child drink plenty of fluids, enough so that his or her urine is light yellow or clear like water. If your child has to limit fluids because of a health problem, talk with your doctor before you increase how much your child drinks.

Medicines

  • Give pain medicine exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.

If you think the pain medicine is making your child sick to his or her stomach:

  • give your child the medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to)
  • ask your doctor for a different pain medicine

If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 if:

  • your child has trouble breathing
  • you can’t wake your child
  • you think your child may need emergency care

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • the medicine is not wearing off and your child cannot think clearly
  • your child has a headache that does not get better with over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®)
  • your child has nausea or vomiting that is getting worse

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.

Current as of: January 19, 2017

Author: Anesthesiology, Alberta Health Services