Children's Health

From the moment you first see their little face, you’ll want your child to be happy and healthy

We want to help you recognise the symptoms and know what to do about the common illnesses that can affect all children. There’ll be a few scrapes, cuts, bumps and bruises along the way too, so be prepared. Stock up on first aid essentials and attend a first aid course to help ensure you know exactly what to do should a situation arise.

Coughs & Cold

Coughs and colds are usually caused by a virus, so they don’t respond to antibiotics. Typically, symptoms are worst in the first two–three days. If your child has a temperature over 37.5ºC:

• Give them plenty of fluids and don’t have too many layers of clothing or bedding

• Liquid paracetamol or ibuprofen can help control their temperature, and ease aches and pains (always read the label for the correct dose)

• Keep checking their temperature for signs of significant changes. Be sure you seek medical attention if it exceeds 39ºC

Once the fever has gone, the need for a soothing medicine to calm the cough may still be required. .

 

Pain and fever

A temperature or fever is a sign that the body is fighting infection.

Help your little one feel more comfortable:

• Make sure they get plenty of sleep

• Keep them cool – undress them to their underwear and cover them with a cool, light sheet

• Make sure they have plenty to drink. If they have started eating solid food, offer lots of cool drinks, especially water

Threadworms

Although more common in children, anyone in the family can get threadworms.

It does not mean the family or home are unclean. These parasitic organisms live in the gut and crawl out of the anus to lay their eggs on the skin at night. The eggs, too small to be seen by the naked eye, cause irritation leading to scratching. They then lodge under fingernails making it very easy for them to be swallowed or passed onto others. The most obvious sign is intense itching in the anal area, especially at night. Medicines available from your Well pharmacist can treat threadworms.

Follow these simple tips to reduce the risk of the infection spreading:

• Wash hands often, always after using the toilet or before eating

• Avoid putting fingers to the mouth as threadworms are easily spread from hands to mouths

• Wear pyjamas or underwear at night to prevent scratching infected areas

• Bathe or shower every morning to get rid of eggs laid overnight 

Head lice

Head lice are most common in children aged 4–11 who spend more time in close contact with friends and siblings.

 Check

  • Check your child’s hair once a week
  • Use a detection comb to trap head lice, preferably a white one so they can easily be seen

Found live lice?

  • Ask your Well pharmacist for treatment advice
  • Then tell your school, friends and family straight away so they can check as well

Treat 

  • Only treat if you find live lice. They move fast and are small, so they can be hard to find!
  • Use a clinically proven treatment
  • Leave the treatment on for the recommended time only. Leaving it on longer will not make it more effective

Complete 

  • Check that all head lice have gone within two–three days of the final application
  • If the instructions advise you to, repeat the treatment for a second time seven days later to kill any newly hatched lice
  • Regular use of a leave-in conditioning spray, clinically proven to protect against head lice, can help prevent future outbreaks by killing lice before they have a chance to spread

Chickenpox

Thanks to the childhood immunisation programme, infectious diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella are rare, although your child is at risk of catching them if they haven’t been vaccinated. The routinely offered vaccines are listed at nhs.uk/conditions/ vaccinations

Chickenpox is highly infectious and can be caught at any time, most commonly in children aged 0 to 4 years old. The virus spreads easily through touching broken chickenpox blisters and also by coughs and sneezes.

Symptoms

  • Mild flu-like symptoms (sickness, fever, loss of appetite) before the rash appears
  • Red, itchy spots or blisters (resembling a “raindrop” – a clear fluid-filled bump) on the face and body, spreading to the arms and legs
  • Some children can have early symptoms but develop little or no rash, yet still have long-term immunity from the condition

Chickenpox is a virus and does not respond to the use of antibiotics.

Treatments usually focus on relieving symptoms:

  • Apply a clinically proven chickenpox relief to relieve chickenpox itching
  • Calamine lotion can soothe momentarily but when it dries it may cause more itching
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
  • Give your child a lukewarm bath if they are feeling itchy and hot
  • Soothe fever with liquid paracetamol
  • Keep fingernails clean and short to help prevent deep scratching
  • Do not administer aspirin – it could lead to a potentially fatal condition known as Reye’s Syndrome.

Also avoid infant ibuprofen, which could be linked to further issues

Meningitis

Meningitis is a potentially fatal disease that causes the lining around the brain and spinal cord to swell. It’s so serious that it can kill within hours of being contracted.

Anyone can be affected, but babies and toddlers are at increased risk. Vaccination against Meningitis C is offered as part of the childhood immunisation programme.

However, there are a number of different strains which means that not everyone can be immunised against all strains. It’s therefore vital that you’re able to spot the symptoms as soon as they appear.

Symptoms

A red or purple rash on the face, arms and body. Unlike a measles or chickenpox rash, this won’t fade when a glass is pressed against it.

Not everyone with meningitis will have a rash, so the other symptoms you need to spot include:

• Drowsiness and pale or blotchy skin

• High-pitched crying and vomiting

• Floppiness or stiffness in the body

• Joint or muscle pain, neck ache

• Sensitivity to light

• Rapid breathing and a high temperature

For more information visit meningitis-trust.org

 

For more information, please download our children's health leaflet.

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*Prescription charges may apply. **Selected branches only . Please ask a member of the pharmacy team for more details. 

 

If you need any further information not contained within our leaflets, please speak to your local pharmacist, (search for your local Well pharmacy here).

Alternativley speak to your doctor or click to visit your the local NHS health advice page (links below).

Content reviewed September 2014