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NHS shares top tips for taking care of common childhood illnesses

13th November 2017 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in

Parents and carers across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are being encouraged to take advantage of NHS guidance on how to take care of common childhood illnesses.

The advice is being made available to launch the local NHS Self-Care campaign, which runs from 13th to 19th November 2017, to build people’s confidence in preventing and treating minor illnesses themselves. The campaign brings together a range of resources, including factsheets and videos, all into one place so that people are better able to take control of their own health.

The first day of Self-Care Week, on Monday 13th November, features children’s health, with advice on common problems including coughs and colds, fever, upset tummies, rashes and bumps, bruises and falls.

Dr Tony Bentley, a GP and clinical lead for children’s health for Leicester City CCG, said: “Parents are usually good at noticing when something is wrong. It’s upsetting when your child is unwell and it’s normal to worry. What we often find is that parents are very capable of looking after minor illnesses and injuries themselves, but they just lack the confidence to do so.

We would never discourage parents from seeking medical attention but we want parents to feel able to care for their child at home when it is appropriate to do so. If you learn the basics, such as how to spot the signs of serious illness and know when you can treat your child yourself and when they need medical attention, you will find it easier to cope.”

There is a series of factsheets available covering the following children’s health topics:

  • Wheezing and breathing difficulties
  • Coughs, colds and flu
  • Rashes including chicken pox, measles, meningitis and sepsis
  • Tummy upsets
  • Bumps, bruises and falls

The factsheets give practical advice, such as how to recognise when a cold or flu needs medical attention, as Dr Bentley explains: “Children tend to get lots of coughs, colds and sniffles and mostly these will get better on their own. They actually help the immune system to develop. Make sure you give your child lots to drink and plenty of rest. If they are uncomfortable and have a temperature you can give them sugar-free paracetamol or ibuprofen, but don’t give children aspirin.

“Remember that coughing is the body’s way of keeping the lungs clear, and wheezing is common in young children when they have a cold; but do seek medical attention urgently if they are finding it hard to breathe.

“Also, you should seek medical advice if they have a persistent temperature of 38˚C or more, that does not respond to medicine, if they have a fever with a rash, or if they are drowsy and less responsive.

“If you are worried you can call NHS 111 at any time of day or night. They can advise you, refer you on to any health services needed and they can even call an ambulance for your child if necessary.”

The factsheets can be downloaded from the website www.staywell-llr.org.uk where there is also a selection of videos about children’s health. People can also follow the campaign on Twitter @StayWellLLR and on Facebook (Page: Stay Well Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland).

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