All children experience common illnesses like coughs, colds and chickenpox; they are all part of growing up.
Antibiotics are not needed for every illness and using them unnecessarily means they are less likely to work when needed.
Most childhood illnesses can be treated yourself or with advice and medicines from your local pharmacy, this is often the easiest and quickest way to help your child get better.
Make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet, which should be kept securely out of your child’s reach.
Be prepared with a digital thermometer, children’s liquid painkillers( Paracetamol and/or ibuprofen), decongestant or vapour rub, oral rehydration sachets, antiseptic cream, calamine lotion, teething gel, antiseptic cream and plasters.
You can also get medical advice from your GP, health visitor, midwife, school nurse or by calling NHS 111 for free 24 hours a day. In most cases you can get the help and advice you need from these professionals rather than going to A&E. NHS choices website also has a wealth of useful advice and information. https://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx
Some common childhood ailments include:
1. Coughs and colds
Symptoms include Runny or blocked nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, headache, mild fever. There is no medical cure for a cold you can only treat the symptoms. Increase the amount of fluid you child drinks. If there is a fever, pain or discomfort; use Paracetamol or ibuprofen. If your child’s cough that has not gone away after a week or your child has a high temperature seek medical attention.
2. Sore throat
Symptoms include pain or soreness in the throat, especially on swallowing, hoarse voice and mild fever. Most sore throats are caused by viral infections so antibiotics will have no effect. Simple painkillers such as paracetamol are the most effective way of alleviating any pain or discomfort. If the sore throat continues for more than 4 days, there is a high temperature or your child has difficulty swallowing and or neck pain seek medical attention.
3 High temperature
High temperature or fever is 38 C or higher and is a symptom of many common illnesses. Keep your child cool by undressing them to their underwear, keep their room cool and open a window if necessary. Encourage your child to drink cool clear liquids. Give children’s ibuprofen or paracetamol following the instructions on the packaging for the correct dosage. If the temperature gets worse despite attempts to bring it down or if the fever is accompanied by confusion, drowsiness, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to light seek medical advice.
4 Ear infection
Symptoms include ear ache (usually on one side) fever, feeling unwell frequent ear rubbing and poor appetite. Give pain relief such as paracetamol of ibuprofen. Placing the child upright with pillows and a warn towel held against the ear may help. Most ear infections resolve within two or three days without antibiotics. If the earache persists seek medical advice.
5 Diarrhoea and vomiting
It is common for young children to get an upset tummy from time to time. This will usually cause one or more of three symptoms; vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pains. If you child is otherwise well the symptoms should resolve within 24 hours. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Avoid giving solid foods and encourage small frequent sips of water or oral rehydration fluid. Avoid fruit juice, cow’s milk or squash as they
can worsen diarrhoea.
If the diarrhoea or vomiting persists or your child becomes more unwell contact your GP.
There are many other common childhood ailments, the main thing is to be prepared, be aware of the signs and symptoms of serious illness and be prepared on how to cope if an accident happens.