Young children are more vulnerable to coughs, colds and infections because their immune systems are still developing. That means they tend to become ill more often than adults and take longer to recover, particularly during the winter when a large number of common illnesses are circulating.
Although it can be worrying when a child becomes poorly, the vast majority of winter illnesses can be managed at home using over-the-counter medicines available from a pharmacist.
Parents are therefore encouraged to visit their local pharmacy first when their children become ill – and be prepared by taking a pharmacist’s advice on available remedies.
Dr Stephen Baird, GP and Chair of Lincolnshire East CCG, said: “Childhood illness can be very stressful for parents, especially those with very young children who aren’t able to articulate exactly what is wrong with them.
“In almost all cases, parents can manage their child’s winter illnesses at home with over-the-counter medication that may ease symptoms, plenty of rest, fluids and TLC.
“If your child has symptoms that worry you or that you haven’t seen before, a pharmacist may be able to offer advice. If you remain concerned, you should take your child to see a GP.
“If your child becomes ill in the night there is information available online at www.nhs.uk or you can call 111 if you need urgent medical advice but it’s not a life-threatening emergency”.
The following tips from Lincolnshire East CCG may help your child cope with the symptoms of a common cold:
Encourage your child to rest and make sure they drink plenty of fluids – water is fine, and warm drinks can be soothing.
Liquid paracetamol or ibuprofen can help ease fever and discomfort – check the dosage instructions on the packaging. Never give aspirin to children under the age of 16.
A warm, moist environment can ease breathing if your child has a blocked nose. Take them to into the bathroom and run a hot bath or shower, or use a vaporiser to humidify the room.
Keep your child’s bedroom aired and at a comfortable temperature and don’t let them get too hot – cover them with a lightweight sheet, for example.