Parents, carers and those looking after children over the Christmas holiday period are being urged to swot up on basic common illnesses such as coughs and colds so they know what to do should their child become ill.
Over the festive period winter illnesses are on the rise and with limited GP appointments, parent and carers are being asked to make sure they know how to deal with common childhood illnesses which are likely to arise over the Christmas break.
Dr Zaki Patel, a GP in Blackburn and executive GP and clinical lead at Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
“We’re advising parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles – all those that will look after children over Christmas – to make sure they’re stocked-up on medicines such as the child’s usual pain relief, oral rehydration solution and cough mixture. Check medicines are in date and always read the label. A suitable thermometer is useful too, to keep an eye on your child’s temperature.
“We have an excellent interactive electronic childhood illness booklet available to download on both Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire CCG websites should your child fall ill.”
Complaints such as ‘my throat hurts’ and ‘my nose is blocked’, are more than likely the sign of a cold. Children can get as many as 10 colds over winter. Symptoms include sneezing, a stuffy and/or runny nose, coughing, scratchy sore throat, and red, watery eyes. Other signs include chills, aches, a mild fever, and swollen lymph glands. Colds can be tough to spot in infants, so look for changes in breathing, eating, and sleeping patterns. Your local pharmacy can advise on remedies to help.
Flu has symptoms such as a sudden fever, usually above 38°C, accompanied by chills and shakes, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, a hacking cough, nausea, and vomiting. If your child is under two it’s best to see a GP. When your GP surgery is closed ring 111 to speak to the NHS. They can advise you where to go or book an appointment for you with an out of hours doctor if needed. If your child is at primary school they will have been offered the flu vaccination which is the best protection against flu.
If you are worried about any symptoms speak to your pharmacist who can give expert medical advice on a range of minor ailments. Make sure your medicine cabinet is well stocked in case anyone falls ill on Christmas day. Your pharmacist can help you choose what you may need.
If your child suffers from asthma, this can be triggered by cold weather. It’s best to stay indoors on very cold, windy days. If you do go out make sure your child is wearing a scarf over their nose and mouth. Be extra vigilant about them taking their regular medications, and keep rescue inhalers close by and in a warm place.
Also, make sure your child washes their hands regularly, particularly after playing or going to the toilet and before they eat food. This will help to reduce the spread of germs and keep down instances of diarrhoea and vomiting or norovirus.
Should you require further advice there are different options available to you such as your local pharmacist, NHS 111, 111 online or www.nhs.uk.
For more advice on staying well this winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell