General Anesthetic, Child

Medicine that makes you sleep (general anesthetic) may be given while a surgical procedure is performed. Once the general anesthetic has been given, your child will be in a sleeplike state in which he or she feels no pain. After the procedure your child may feel:

  • Dizzy.

  • Weak. 

  • Drowsy.

  • Irritable.

These are all normal responses and can be expected to last for up to 24 hours after the procedure is completed. 

LET YOUR CAREGIVER KNOW ABOUT:

  • Allergies your child has.

  • Medicines taken including herbs, eyedrops, over-the-counter medicines, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or numbing medicines (including any close family relative who has had problems with anesthesia).

  • History of blood clots (thrombophlebitis).

  • History of bleeding or blood problems.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Any recent upper respiratory or ear infections.

  • The neonatal history of your child, especially if your child was born prematurely.

BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

Your child may brush his or her teeth on the morning of surgery. Your child should not have any solid food or non-clear liquids (including milk) for a minimum of 8 hours prior to the procedure. Clear liquids (water and apple juice) are acceptable in very small amounts until 2 hours prior to your child's procedure.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

Your child will be taken to the recovery area. A nurse will monitor your child's progress. When your child is awake, stable, taking fluids well, and has no problems, he or she may go home. For the first 24 hours following your child's anesthetic:

  • Have a responsible adult observe your child at all times.

  • Limit outdoor activities which may be dangerous, such as riding a bicycle.

Liquids or light meals are often best tolerated for the first day or two. Then bring your child's diet back to normal as tolerated.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your child has persistent dizziness or feels nauseous.

  • Your child has continued nausea or vomiting.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your child cannot stay awake.

  • You cannot wake up your child.

  • Your child has a fever over 101° F (38.5° C).

  • Your child develops a rash.

  • Your child has difficulty breathing.

  • Your child develops a croupy cough.

  • Your child develops any other problems you are concerned about.

  • Your child has any bleeding, especially from the surgery site.

  • Your child develops an allergic reaction.