My advice for common childhood complaints

This week I want to talk about common childhood complaints and concerns that I often see within the surgery.

As a parent myself, I know how worrying it can be when your child is unwell. Preventing illness is a priority for us in our GP surgeries and we offer vaccinations to all children.

You will be sent appointments on a regular basis and it is very important that you keep your child up to date with their vaccinations. Your GP or health visitor will be able to see if your child is up to date.

The childhood vaccinations offer protection, amongst others, against:

  • Meningitis
  • Measles
  • German measles
  • Whooping cough
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus

Young children can become unwell very quickly and it is always a good idea to have your medicine cupboard at home stocked up with:

  • Calpol or infant paracetamol
  • Infant ibuprofen
  • Thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Young children can feel hot to the touch and not have a temperature.
  • Plasters
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Dioralyte – for relief from dehydration following diarrhoea

If you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet, you can treat your child at home for a lot of common childhood complaints.

Children often like the taste of Calpol and other infant medicines, so it is important to be vigilant and make sure that all medicines are put away immediately after use in a locked cabinet.

Children are sometimes able to open child proof medicine tops and can easily overdose on Calpol. If this happens, it is essential that you seek urgent, immediate medical advice.

Common childhood complaints that can be treated initially at home are:

Common cold and coughs – A child’s immune system is still developing until the age of six and they easily pick up lots of coughs and colds, especially once they start attending nursery and school. The time to become worried and to seek advice is if your child is drowsy, seems to be listless and is not responding to you as they normally would, even after you have tried Calpol and ibuprofen. Look out for a rash that does not fade when you press on it with a glass.

Raised temperature – Young children often have a raised temperature at the first sign of illness. This can be treated at home with infant Calpol and it is useful to take your child’s temperature so that, if you are concerned, you can give the reading to your GP if you want to make an appointment.

Upset tummy – Give plenty of fluids and offer a replacement fluid medicine, such as Dioralyte. Avoid milky products. Give sips, little and often. If your child has an upset tummy and is not passing urine, is drowsy and weak, then seek advice from the pharmacist or GP services.

You will find that if your child is unwell, that most GP surgeries will give you a same day appointment. It may be that your doctor arranges to ring you back to speak to you about your child so it is always helpful to tell the receptionist the symptoms that your child has.