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Looking after a poorly child

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In their weekly Health Matters column, members of Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group look at child sickness...

Parents and carers in south Lincolnshire are being reminded to make sure they know how to deal with common childhood winter illnesses at this time of year.

Young children are more vulnerable to coughs, colds and infections because their immune system is still developing.

A poorly child
A poorly child

An adult may get two to four colds a year, children can get eight to 12 and most of these can be treated at home with over the counter medication and rest.

It can be difficult to know the best way to care for children when they become ill and all parents worry when their child is poorly, but most of the time childhood illness can be managed at home with advice from your pharmacist and lots of rest.

The pharmacy is the best place for advice and assistance about over the counter medicines that can help alleviate symptoms of coughs and colds.

Speak to your local pharmacist as a first point of call. They can advise on the appropriate over the counter medicines that are suitable for your child’s age.

If you continue to have concerns and want to talk to someone, visit NHS 111 online or call 111 to speak to one of their trained advisers.

Colds and bugs can be managed with pain relief, oral rehydration solution and cough mixture.

It’s worth having a thermometer at home to check your child’s temperature. You can check the NHS website (www.nhs.uk) for details on how to care for a child with a high temperature. It is also a good idea to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet at this time of year.

If your child has an upset tummy or flu it’s best to keep them away from the elderly and other children who can be vulnerable to infection.

Children should learn good hygiene early and be encouraged to wash their hands regularly, particularly after playing, going to the toilet and before eating.

Parents are being reminded to make sure little ones are taught how to clean their hands properly, particularly if they’re around grandparents or friends and relatives that are ill.

Good hygiene means:

  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and putting the tissue in the bin straight away – don’t save it to re-use later. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow rather than your hands.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water. This will remove the majority of germs, preventing spread to other people. Studies show that hand-washing techniques are often poor, and the most commonly neglected areas are the tips of the fingers, palm of the hand, and the thumb.
  • Use alcohol hand rub if you are visiting someone in hospital. This should be rubbed into all areas of the hands, again paying attention to the thumbs, fingertips, between the fingers and the backs of the hands until the hands feel dry. But it’s important to know this won’t help with norovirus – soap and water is best.

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